Mass. audit knocks agency on child protection
BOSTON (WHDH) -- The Massachusetts auditor says the state's office of Early Education and Care has failed to take sufficient steps to assure sex offenders aren't working at licensed day care centers.
In a scathing report Wednesday, auditors found 119 cases in which the address of a registered sex offender matched that of a licensed child care facility.
Auditor Suzanne Bump's 32-page audit of the state agency which oversees daycare centers highlights some glaring examples including two in Brockton, where a licensed childcare provider was at the same address as a Level 3 sex offender convicted of rape.
The report says it's believed no children were harmed.
Auditor Bump is urging the agency to begin checking this lists; matching addresses of sex offenders and daycare centers.
“The fact that this hadn’t been a requirement seems to us to be a glaring oversight on the part of regulatory agency who was supposed to be ensuring the safety of kids in daycare facilities,” Bump said.
Acting Early Education Commissioner Tom Weber said the safety of children is his top priority. He also added most of the 119 matches involve programs that are now closed, or programs in large community college settings or workplaces -- or in places where the child care provider and the sex offender resided in the same building, but in different units, or at different times.
“There are seven recommendations in the report and we’ve actually already taken steps in all seven areas. We’re going to continue to work in each of those areas,” Weber said.
The report from Bump also said that, in some cases, the EEC failed to ensure licensed child care providers were performing required criminal background checks on employees.