30 August 2011

Illinois paid convicted sex offenders to babysit children

Many within the media have criticized the actions of certain Churchmen for a lack of due diligence and caution in regards to the sexual abuse of abuse, but, I wonder: will the same media persons and outlets criticize - and even condemn - the State of Illinois for paying sex offenders to babysit children?

Sadly, I do not expect they will; after all, this story does not involve the Catholic Church and everyone knows the sexual abuse of children only occurs in the Catholic Church, right?

The Chicago Tribune has been updating their story this morning which has already undergone several name changes, so I will provide you with the coverage from the Daily Mail (with my emphases and comments):
Convicted rapists, child molesters and other violent felons have been paid [by the State of Illinois] to babysit the children of poor families.

The government programme has given sex offenders access to the children over the past decade [where is the outrage and the calls for firings, trials, imprisonments, etc.?], while paying them as much as $5,000 each in public money.

The money comes from a $750 million-a-year program that subsidises child care for more than 150,000 impoverished Illinois families.

The Child Care Assistance Program program, has come under scrutiny before, A law passed in 2009 forced the state's Department of Human Services to do a better job of vetting potential participants [So there's a history here and still no real outrage or condemnation of those involved?  We aren't even given the names of the officials involved.  Could this not be a cover-up?].

The aim was to prevent convicted rapists — like a man who earned $5,000 baby-sitting two children over a two-year period — from taking part.

But it took nearly 18 months to start the improved vetting procedures [this is simply inexcusable!], an investigation by the Chicago Tribune found.

Even today there are not sufficient safeguards to prevent people who live in homes with sex offenders and other felons from participating, the newspaper found.
State officials, after learning of the findings, have vowed to implement further reforms, the paper reported.
Republican Senator Matt Murphy said: 'You are talking about not only the state sanctioning, but the state creating an economic incentive for someone with a criminal record to be in a room with a kid.' '[So that State is providing the opportunity for the exploitation of children?]That's frankly not a situation that I find acceptable.'

Supporters say there are no problems with the vast majority of those who participate in the program [So they're ignoring the problem?].

Maria Whelan, the president of the non-profit Illinois Action for Children said: 'This is a program that is absolutely essential if we are going to, with a straight face, tell families that if they work and if they continue to develop themselves, we can help them make a difference for their families.'

The Department of Human Services did not do full background checks on sitters and instead depended on an honour system where it relied on criminals and sex offenders to be honest when applying for jobs with the programme [Have they learned nothing from the media's focus on the Catholic Church and from the John Jay Report?].
Cornelius Osborne had been convicted of raping two women and had been to prison repeatedly for a succession of felonies, from robbery to failing to register as a sex offender, state records show.
But when he filled in an application to babysit his sister's children he did not declare the full extent of his criminal record.
His response showed 'drug trafficking' but he didn't mention prison stints for rape, robbery and kidnapping which would have disqualified him from benefiting from the scheme.
The state did not check Osborne's record and over more than two years, the state paid Osborne nearly $5,000 [At the very least this should qualify for a charge of endangerment of children.  Where are the lawyers?  Where is Mr. Anderson?]. Eventually another conviction — for dealing drugs — put him back behind bars.
Darron Walker spent more than a dozen years in prison for his role an attempted sexual assault and a homicide, according to court records.

Yet the Department of Human Services sent him more than $3,600 in checks from 2006 to 2008 to care for a child who was not a relative, according to state and court records.
Officials later discovered Walker was a registered sex offender, and the agency sued him, demanding he pay back the money.

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