GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 1, 2013

State eyes checking of sex offender, daycare addresses

BOSTON — Reeling from a state auditor’s report last week that found 119 matches across the state between addresses of certified child day-care providers and registered Level 2 or 3 sex offenders, state early education and public safety officials plan to develop a joint plan to institute a statewide system in which the addresses of all Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are crosschecked against licensed child care programs.

Unlike 17 other states, Massachusetts currently has no statutory or regulatory requirements for state child care agencies, such as the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), to match registered sex offender addresses to licensed child care providers’ addresses, according to the report released last week from State Auditor Suzanne Bump.

Bump and state lawmakers are now calling on EEC to implement the address check in response to the audit that initially found 119 addresses of registered sex offenders matched locations of licensed child care programs. In their response to the audit, EEC officials said they planned to implement a system.

Acting Commissioner Thomas Weber said EEC has been in touch with public safety officials to start the process.

“We are going to be running regular cross references of our provider list, and those addresses against the sex offender registry database,” Weber said, “so we continue to monitor any occasions when children in the care of our providers may be coming in contact with registered sex offenders.”

Weber said the department is developing a new process.

“We are going to undertake this process, and we should undertake this process,” he said. “It has not been required of us, but common sense tells us we should, and we will.”

The Boston Police Department routinely compares child care provider addresses obtained from the EEC database to the addresses of registered Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders in their jurisdiction, and then contacts EEC to alert them to any matches, according to the auditor’s report.

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