Senate passes Nofs legislation to require FBI background checks for adult care workers; helps protect seniors

LANSING, Mich.—Workers at adult foster care and homes for the aged would be subject to FBI criminal history checks if legislation approved Wednesday by the state Senate becomes law, said sponsor Sen. Mike Nofs.

“These important reforms will help protect senior citizens who are routinely victimized by predators who exploit their vulnerabilities,” said Nofs, R-Battle Creek. “By subjecting care workers to FBI criminal background checks, we will better protect seniors and instill another barrier to help prevent these perpetrators from entering the system.”

Senate Bills 787 and 788 would enable the Michigan State Police to conduct a criminal records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation on an applicant for an adult foster care or homes for the aged license. The criminal records check requirement would also apply to an owner, partner, or director of the applicant who has regular direct access to residents or who has on-site facility operational responsibilities for the facility.

The Senate approved an 18-bill senior protection legislative package in 2011, of which Nofs was a sponsor, to protect seniors at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.

Those measures included initiatives to improve coordination between state and local authorities; enhance banking, annuity and insurance protections for seniors; establish reporting requirements for suspected abuse and neglect or knowledge of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities; and create an “Amber Alert” style alert for missing seniors.

SBs 787 and 788 now go to the House for consideration.