California auditor: 1,000 state-licensed facilities match sex offenders’ addresses

The California state auditor has found that more than 1,000 state-licensed facilities — including more than 600 for kids — matched addresses in the sex-offender registry, saying oversight mechanisms lag behind state requirements.

The state Department of Social Services “cites the lack of resources as the primary reason why it has not implemented an automated sex offender address match and why its oversight mechanisms are falling short of requirements,” said the state auditor’s report, released Thursday.

Specifically, the report said that 677 foster and group homes and other state-licensed facilities for children matched sex offenders’ addresses, as well as 385 state-licensed facilities for vulnerable adults.

The auditor found that almost 600 of the 1,000 address matches were “high risk and in need of immediate investigation,” the report said. It was not clear from the report how many foster and group homes are in California, in total.

This month, the state social services agency and county child welfare agencies investigated 99% of the matches and began legal actions against eight licensees of facilities, including four license revocations, said the report, titled “Child Welfare Services — California Can and Must Provide Better Protection and Support for Abused and Neglected Children.”

In six of those actions, registered sex offenders were living or present in the child facilities, and counties found 36 sex offenders having “some association” with foster homes — prompting authorities to remove children from the facilities and ordering the offenders out of the homes, the report said.

State costs for housing foster children have also grown dramatically, California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle found.

“The percentage of children placed with private foster family agencies ? agencies that recruit and certify foster homes and are compensated at a higher rate than state- or county-licensed foster homes ? has dramatically increased over the last 10 years and resulted in an additional $327 million in foster care payments during that time,” the report said. “The counties we visited admit to placing children with these agencies out of convenience rather than for elevated treatment needs as originally intended.”

The state social services agency “generally agreed” with the auditor’s findings and outlined an action plan in response to several recommendations, the auditor said.


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