Investigation finds sex offenders living in Peninsula care facilities

A county audit has revealed that two registered sex offenders were living in child care and foster care facilities in the Peninsula, though no children were harmed on the two cases, county officials said.

The two instances were revealed by an audit by the county’s Human Services Agency, in which the agency compared 530 addresses of child care and foster care facilities to a state database of registered sex offenders.

The investigation was requested by Supervisor Jerry Hill after a state audit was released in April. That audit compared state-licensed facilities with the database of sex offenders, but Hill believed the audit had major flaws because not all child care facilities are licensed with the state.

Hill and Assemblymember Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, said the audit revealed major communication breakdowns between law enforcement and human-service agencies, as well as between state and county governments.

In one of the cases identified in the audit, a sex offender had been living at a foster care home in East Palo Alto. In the second case, a sex offender was living in a child care facility, but because the child or children were being cared for by a close relative, the home was not licensed — and therefore no background check was made on residents living there, according to a release issued by both Ma and Hill.

As soon as the two cases were discovered, the Human Services Agency turned them over to law enforcement officials, HSA Deputy Director Deborah Torres said. In both cases, the sex offenders had already moved out of the facilities and there was no evidence that children had been harmed.

Both Hill and Ma said changes were in order. Ma said she would introduce a new state law requiring the Attorney General’s Office, which controls the registry of sex offenders also known as Megan’s List, to share all of that information with licensing agencies.

While most of the list is made public, about 25 percent is not, Ma said.

Hill said he would create a committee to link law enforcement with county agencies.

“We didn’t find that any children were harmed in these cases, but we want to be able to guarantee that it doesn’t ever happen,” he said.

kworth@examiner.com

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