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Friday, November 03, 2017 by Nadia

SALT LAKE CITY — The Office of the Utah State Auditor released Wednesday a Performance Audit of Sex Offender Access to Vulnerable Populations, pointing out serious concerns with inadequate controls to prevent registered sex offenders from having unsupervised access to vulnerable populations residing in or receiving care in state operated or state licensed or approved facilities. 

Generally, the agencies reviewed appear to prevent registered sex offenders from gaining employment in public service careers that require regular interaction with vulnerable populations. At the time of the test work, registered sex offenders were not employed by any sampled local education agencies, the Utah State Developmental Center, or the Utah State Hospital. However, state child care and foster care licensors do not regularly independently verify that registered sex offenders do not live in homes licensed or approved for foster care, proctor care, or child care.

As a result of test work, the Office discovered that two registered sex offenders lived in homes licensed or approved by the state to provide child care. In addition, provider files do not clearly demonstrate whether at least 12 registered sex offenders — who each share the same address where licensed or approved child care is provided — are restricted from having unsupervised access to children in these facilities. An example of one such facility is an approved child care provider operating in one unit of a five-unit building where registered sex offenders - who each committed felony sex offenses against children- reside in the other four units.

Tom Hudachko, spokesman for the Department of Health which licenses day care providers, said even though the department has strong controls in place to keep children safe from sex offenders the audit showed areas that could be improved. 

In one case a sex offender was living in a home where child care was provided and the provider failed to submit the name to the department for a background check, Hudachko said. In the past child care providers submitted names of all those who lived in the home where the care was provided. 

In the future the department will run the address and compare it to the state sex offender registry list, he said. 

Another child provider lived in the same building that had different units where registered sex offenders lived, Hudachko said. 

The department will in the future for annual inspections and for applications, the department will run the address and check within a given radius how close registered sex offenders live, Hudachko said. 

More information about the Utah Sex and Kidnap Offender Registry, a public resource, can be found on its website.

The full report may be found on the Office’s website, auditor.utah.gov, specifically at http://financialreports.utah.gov/saoreports/2015/PA15-02SexOffenderAccesstoVulnerablePopulationsHealth,Departmentof.pdf.