In March, there were accusations of physical and sexual abuse taking place at a facility for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. When this happened, officials stated that one of the employees was being investigated for facilitating and potentially selling nude photos of girls at the facility. It was also found that the worker had been fired from a Texas juvenile facility she had worked for in the past for inappropriate relationships with the children she was caring for. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department had fired the female worker in April of 2020 after she had worked at the Giddings State School in Lee County for seven months.
The leadership at the facility claims the employee passed any background checks and screenings required by the state as well as the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. Learn More
The communications director at the facility said that they would not have hired the worker currently being investigated had they known she had been fired for inappropriate behavior with children in the past. He also claimed that their hiring process now exceeds state requirements. Yet, the worker under investigation was hired without contacting her previous supervisors.
When the facility was asked whether they contacted the worker’s past employers, the communications director said that past employers will generally only give a past worker’s start and end dates of employment but not give any explanation as to the reason for the employee’s departure.
The facility is now working with a training company, which has helped them to create a leadership program intended to help people see where they can improve safety, especially when hiring or in workforce management practices. This company has also helped the facility with self-assessments. They started working with this company after the investigation began.
The facility is also working with a security company. They are having this company perform secondary background checks on their current direct-care staff members. The background checks performed by the company cover more than the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services requires.
But, at the end of February, the facility stopped hiring new personnel, and they do not intend to begin hiring again until they implement new screening tools, secondary background checks, and a new training program that has been evaluated and revised. Also, the facility is currently under an emergency suspension and closure order.
This case shows how important it is to work with a background screening company to make sure that an adequate process is in place to perform the necessary background checks on their applicants and employees.
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