California has been paying people arrested on murder and attempted murder charges to watch the children of welfare recipients, reports the Sacramento Bee. In 2004, state records show, nearly 2,200 people with criminal backgrounds that disqualified them from watching children served as child-care providers for welfare recipients in California for up to a year before state officials cut them off.
It’s a problem that has persisted for years with no solution in sight. Since the state pays the cost of child care for welfare recipients who are working, California law requires caregivers who earn welfare funds to have a clean criminal record or to get an exemption from the state. Sixty percent of new welfare recipients leave their children with unlicensed providers – usually a friend or relative. But unlike workers at bigger child-care centers, unlicensed caregivers who watch children from only one family start getting paid before their criminal background checks are complete. And because of bureaucratic delays, a check can take months to finish.