Sex offenders found in child care centers

Registered sex offenders in the Bay Area are living in state-licensed facilities that care for children, elderly and mentally disabled people, a recent state audit has found.

Nearly 80 state licensed facilities in the nine-county region, including 11 in San Francisco and three in San Mateo County, are housing registered sex offenders, according to the audit. Seven of those facilities are believed to be child care centers.

State officials have said they are investigating the facilities for failure to report the presence of sex offenders living in or associated with the centers.

The audit showed that about 51,000 registered sex offenders in the state have little supervision because they have completed parole. Another 8,000 sex offenders are being supervised by parole agents.

Those findings shocked and angered Assemblymembers Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, and Anthony Adams, R-Hesperia, who have begun drafting legislation to revamp the state’s long-term supervision of its sex offenders.

“My biggest concern right now is the number of sex offenders that are in child care facilities,” Ma said during a Capitol news conference Thursday. “Parents who goyeah to work, drop off their kids in the morning, pick them up, should not have to worry about the safety of their children.”

Even how registered sex offenders are tracked in the state came under attack.

“The report found that the majority of the state’s databases are not sufficiently reliable,” Ma said. “We don’t know whether there are more sex offenders who have not registered into these databases.”

The audit also found that the addresses of 49 registered sex offenders matched those of 46 child care facilities throughout the state, including seven in the Bay Area.

As of Thursday, the state Department of Social Services had suspended licenses for 10 child care facilities in the Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Fresno areas. Officials said there is no immediate indication that any children were abused.

State auditors matched the addresses of 75,000 licensed facilities, including foster family homes and in-home daycare centers, with the state’s database of registered sex offenders.

Auditors recommended that the state departments of justice and social services share their databases to ensure that sex offenders are not living at licensed homes.

Ma and Adams are requesting an audit of all state departments and a consolidation of their sex offender databases.

“We want to try to bring registry for collections and enforcement under one department,” Ma said. “Trying to correlate all of the information was like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

maldax@examiner.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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