The In-Home Supportive Services program is a state-funded initiative that
helps the elderly pay for services enabling them to stay in their own
home. Over 300,000 home health care workers assist the elderly through
In September, a report in the Los Angeles Times indicated that people with
a history of violent crime, including those with a history ofrape and elder abuse, were permitted to work in the state's home health
aide program. Investigators found over 200 applicants and workers, who
despite being deemed "unsuitable" to work in this environment,
were employed through the program or scheduled to begin employment.
According to the Times report, a judge ruled earlier in the year that felons
could be permitted to work as home health aides under the law as it was
then written. Under the court ruling, only those with convictions for
child abuse, elder abuse or defrauding of public assistance programs could
be excluded from the program. Despite the ruling, not all offenders with
those convictions were prohibited from working in the program.
In a September letter to state legislators, Governor Schwarzenegger called
the issue a "public safety crisis" and urged the legislature
to take action. As a result, a measure was added to a budget package that
the governor signed in early October.
In January 2011, the state will be able to disqualify workers in the program
for a broader range of felony convictions. Participants in the program,
however, will be able to sign a waiver allowing a felon to continue to
care for them, as long as the conviction was not for elder abuse,