California's Governor Jerry Brown has ensured that his state joins the handful of states requiring home health agencies to conduct thorough background checks prior to hiring senior home care workers. Legislation is not scheduled to be in place until January 2016.
The Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act of 2013 requires agencies to run background checks on employees and list aides in an online registry. Home Care Agencies must also provide a license certifying their compliance with basic standards.
The act is a response to the California Senate Health Committee report of April 2011 entitled: Caregiver Roulette: California Fails to Screen those who Care for the Elderly at Home. That report showed that a quarter of caregivers accused or convicted of crimes identified from news accounts had committed previous offenses, "underscoring the potential value of screening".
Consumers hiring in-home care on their own also have a legal right to request that prospective employees pass a thorough criminal background check.
Senior home care is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. The Department Labor estimates the number of home health care workers will reach 3.2 million by 2020. The majority of those homecare workers will be servicing the elderly, due to the aging U.S. population.
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