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The twilight years -- a time for men and women to relax and enjoy the life they spent years creating. Many children are put at ease knowing that their aging parents are in some type of retirement community, or in-house care. But do you know who's caring for your elders?
The SF Gate reports that the California Home Health Program is hiring felons. Yes, individuals convicted of violent felonies are being hired to enter into the homes of the elderly to help with healthcare services. At least 210 felons have been hired by the California Home Health Program under an application system that does not allow for weeding out criminals. The only convictions that would disqualify a worker from employment would be if he or she has a specific conviction for elder abuse, child abuse, or defrauding a public assistance program. With such a limited bar, it leaves a lot of room for other serious convictions.
John Wagner, Director of the State Department of Social Services notes the concerns raised in hiring felons, "We are allowing these people into the homes of vulnerable individuals without supervision. It's dangerous. These are serious convicts." Possible convictions for some of the programs felons include rape and assault with a deadly weapon.
The In-House Supportive Services Program is supposed to offer a cost effective alternative to full-time retirement home care. But at what cost? Perhaps the scariest aspect of the process is that certain privacy laws prevent notifying the elderly of the criminal status of their caregiver. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is working to change this, hoping to push measures through the legislature which would bar felons from employment in these types of care programs. For now, the efforts have been stalled and hopefully the publicity surrounding the CA Home Health Program hiring felons will alert the elderly to the importance of being aware of their caretakers.