The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

May 14, 2014

Minnesota readies to fingerprint caregivers

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota is poised to begin requiring fingerprint background checks for state workers who care for the elderly, disabled and other vulnerable groups.

The Star Tribune reports (http://strib.mn/RPVDYL) legislation that requires those employees be fingerprinted and photographed is awaiting Gov. Mark Dayton's signature. It would start in October.

The Department of Human Services has conducted criminal background checks on most groups of caregivers since 1991, but the fingerprinting effort is the largest expansion of state screening in more than two decades.

Last fall, the newspaper reported that licensed nurses in Minnesota can practice for years despite histories of criminal convictions, including drug thefts.

DHS now conducts background checks only when caregivers are hired or switch jobs, which means crimes can go undetected so long as a caregiver sticks to one employer.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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