By Brad Branan
Published: Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 - 12:20 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011 - 1:53 pm
Sex offenders are living or working in foster-care facilities and homes, according to a report released by the California State Auditor this morning.
The addresses of more than 1,000 registered sex offenders matched the addresses of licensed foster-care facilities and homes, auditors found. Almost 600 of those sex offenders were considered high risk.
The state Department of Social Services investigated the auditor's findings and has begun licensing action against eight facilities and issued orders barring 36 individuals from facilities, according to the audit. Counties have separately taken action to remove children from homes or bar offenders from them.
"This is appalling," said Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, who requested the report because of concern about children who died in the child welfare system.
The audit does not identify the location of where sex offenders were found. Spokespeople at the auditor's office and the Department of Social Services spokesman said they expect to provide the information later today.
The audit focused on Child Protective Services agencies in Sacramento, Fresno and Alameda counties. Los Angeles County was also selected for review, but officials there refused to provide information requested by the auditor.
The report found that Sacramento County had the highest number of deaths of children who had previous involvement with the child welfare system, out of the three counties reviewed. From 2008 to 2010, 15 children with prior abuse or neglect allegations died from subsequent abuse or neglect in Sacramento County. That compares to five such deaths in Fresno County and four in Alameda County.
Sacramento and the two other counties sometimes fail to promptly and thoroughly investigate abuse and neglect reports, the audit found. Auditors detail several cases in which Sacramento County social workers made questionable decisions in cases that ultimately resulted in death.