About 2,500 people under age 18 were added in fiscal 2009 to a Texas database of people accused of child abuse and neglect, records that can be shared with other states, says the Texas Tribune. The “central registry” was created in the mid-1990 to give a variety of people and agencies, from child welfare workers to certain job placement offices, a central location to run comprehensive background checks or to aid investigations.
It is largely made up of people who aren't convicted criminals or registered sex offenders, from the negligent parent whose child died in a hot car to a group home operator who hit a disabled child. The problem, say critics, is that it includes the names of thousands of juveniles who may have no idea they're even on it and, unlike a criminal proceeding, have had no chance to contest the designation. State spokesman Patrick Crimmins says that, “If a child has a history of sexually acting out, sexually abusing other children, physically abusing other children or otherwise engaging in behaviors that create safety concerns, staff takes steps to ensure these children and any other children in the placement are safe.”