Stronger Background Checks for Childcare Workers Needed, Says Oregon Audit

An Oregon state audit released June 4 revealed a plethora of issues within the state’s child caresystem, including weak, inconsistent background checks, high cost for care, and a lack of availability and access to care for Oregon families.

With over 10,000 cases of child abuse in Oregon per year, with almost half under the age of six, proper child care is a legitimate concern – though most abuse is committed by family members, a small portion is committed by child care workers.

Abuse in childcare facilities: The report notes “ODE has confirmed receiving hundreds of complaints annually against licensed child care providers on issues such as physical harm to a child, safety risks for children, and unsanitary conditions. While it is uncommon, OCC has also reported 10 children have died in Oregon licensed child care settings from 2011 to 2018, with at least one due to child neglect. Unfortunately, more incidents of child abuse and neglect likely have gone unreported to authorities.”

The Oregon Secretary of State Audits Division found, for one, that though most child care workers do not have criminal convictions, the Oregon Department of Education’s Office of Child Care (OCC) and the Department of Human Services’ Background Check Unit (BCU) have previously approved individuals with criminal histories related to child abuse and/or neglect. FULL ARTICLE