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Massive background check backlog allows criminals to work in day care centers

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DENVER -- A FOX31 Denver investigation exposes a crack in the system that’s allowing potentially dangerous criminals to work in Colorado day care centers for months without passing a background check.

We uncovered a five-month-long background check backlog at the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, that’s not only impacting day care workers, but teachers and 62 other professions.

CBI Spokesperson Susan Medina admits a five-month wait for background check on a day care worker is “too long.”

Medina blames it on the outdated computer system CBI uses to process fingerprints and “an increase in volume,” that she claims is not connected to the high demand for gun background checks.

FOX 31 has learned the five-month delay is allowing potentially dangerous criminals to work in Colorado day care centers, while their employers wait for the results of their CBI background check.

Most state require day care workers to pass a background check. In Colorado, day care providers and employees also have to pass an FBI fingerprint check that reveals convictions in other states.

CBI processes both the state and federal background check. But there is no law that prevents people from working in day cares while their background check is still being processed.

Marcia Rush, who owns “Positive Alternative” day care center in Aurora, told us she’s waited five months for the background check results on her employee, Aminah Williams, and still has not received it.

But FOX 31 Denver confirmed Williams has a long criminal record.

It includes two assault convictions in 2007 and in January of this year.

Williams was also convicted of Felony criminal trespassing and drunk driving with a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit (.283). She was arrested for burglary and domestic violence in 2009.

Terry Santi with the Colorado Department of Human Services child care licensing told us the state had no idea about the five-month-long backlog at CBI until we brought it to their attention.

When asked if the backlog is a concern for human services Santi replied “very much so.”
Human Services relies on CBI to alert the child care licensing division when a day care worker or provider has been arrested or convicted of a crime.

“Partly because of your investigation we have been made aware that this delay is occurring, Santi said, “That is something the department is very much concerned with.”

CBI’s Susan Medina told us the bureau was updating their computer system and hoped to have caught up to the background check backlog by the end of the summer.

Medina sent us an email on Tuesday claiming the new system was up and running, but said CBI still doesn’t have a “forecast” as to how long it will take to solve the problem.

We asked CBI assistant director, Steve Johnson, if we could get video of the new fingerprint processing system, but our request was denied.

You can check the background of someone through the CBI website.  This background check is not as comprehensive as the one daycare's in the story above a requesting, but it can help point out red flags.

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