State officials say they aren't placing children with foster parents who haven't cleared background checks, defending their agency after an audit found problems with handling of foster care.
The state auditor’s office reported this week that the Department of Social and Health Services didn’t comply with criminal background check requirements in 2009, failing to fix problems that were also found in audits from 2003 to 2008.
Auditors found 24 foster care providers they said were paid without clearing background checks, including seven with a criminal record or a history of being investigated for potential child abuse or neglect, and 17 others who were never checked at all.
But Dan Ashby, senior finance manager for the Children’s Administration agency within DSHS, said anyone who had custody of a child got a background check, except for the children’s parents, who aren’t required to be checked.
Those parents account for some of the audit’s findings, he said, while other missing information is because of a new state database that wasn’t always accurate.
Ashby said only one case involved a true criminal history, a decades-old conviction from the provider’s teenage years.
Still, the questions about background checks have persisted for years. But Children’s Administration officials said updates in January to the state’s case management system would fix them. No payments will be allowed to providers now unless a background check is on file, they said.
Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826 jordan. email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/politics