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Eken bill based on DL case would enact more thorough criminal background checks on care workers

St. Paul, Minn. – Legislation was heard today in the Committee on Human Services Reform Finance and Policy requiring increased background checks for employees at group residential homes. The legislation, SF 454, was introduced by Kent Eken (DFL-Twin Valley) to ensure our state’s most vulnerable are protected.

 “When our most vulnerable adults are staying in group homes or places where their care is in the hands of other people, we should ensure caregivers have been vetted as thoroughly as possible,” said Senator Eken. “It is our responsibility to put as many safeguards in place to guarantee the safety of residents and prevent the possibility of someone slipping through the cracks. This bill is an important step in ensuring safety.”

The bill requires the commissioner to review information from national crime information databases, arrest and investigate information from other states, and criminal records from other states for potential employees of residential group homes.

The legislation was developed in response to an incident that occurred in Detroit Lakes, where a vulnerable adult was sexually assaulted by a care worker who had committed a similar crime in another state. In conversations with law enforcement, it was revealed that while a background check on this individual was completed, it did not include national criminal databases that would have flagged this potential employee before they were hired. 

The bill was passed and now moves onto the Judiciary Committee.

Kent Eken is a state senator who represents Clay, Becker, and Norman counties. He is the Ranking Member of the Family Care and Aging Committee and a member of the following committees: Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance; Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy; and Capital Investment.

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