NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Where Sex Offenders Became Baby-Sitters

November 30, 1999

Washington state officials set up a child-care program for low-income families called the Working Connections Child Program. The program gives subsidies to the parents to hire their friends and family members for baby-sitting duties.

  • While background checks are required for workers in licensed day care centers and in licensed family day care in homes serving fewer children, the new program allows parents to hire family and friends to tend the kids without requiring a similar check.
  • As a result, 207 of those who were hired were convicted felons -- including 13 who were registered sex offenders.
  • Although the state's Department of Social and Health Services has stopped payments to the families which hired the convicts, it will resume payments after the families select new care providers.

There have been no reports so far that any children were harmed.

Source: Associated Press, "State Pays Felons to Baby-Sit for Poor," Washington Times, November 25, 1999.


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