Disabled advocacy group wants national background checks

BOSTON (WWLP) – Down syndrome affects more than 400,000 people across the country, but current laws put people with developmental disabilities at risk.

Individuals who apply to work with those affected by developmental disabilities go through a state-wide background check, but applicants coming from other states don’t get screened, which could put your loved one in danger. People caring for your loved ones with Down syndrome could have a criminal history.

The state Department of Developmental Disabilities only requires a state-wide background check.

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress hopes lawmakers will pass a bill mandating national background checks so that those with a criminal history can’t jump from state to state looking for a job.

Kristin Britton of the Mass. Developmental Disabilities Council told 22News, “Some folks with developmental disabilities are non-verbal, for example, so we don’t find out about different forms of abuse that may occur until years later, or we may never find out.”

Under the bill, those looking for employment under the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Disabilities would go through a national background check that would be cross-referenced with a fingerprint check before being hired.

The additional background checks would be paid for by the job applicant and wouldn’t cost more than $45.

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