Editorial: Background checks needed for employees

"The Head Start and Early Start programs are vitally important for the education of children who live in the Navajo Nation. But important, too, are the safeguards required by federal agencies to keep sexual predators and people with criminal records from working with those children.

The federal Administration for Children and Families reported a shocking number of employees of Navajo Head Start and Early Start programs with criminal records, including some convicted of murder, aggravated assault and child abuse. Of 644 employees whose backgrounds were checked last fall, 106 had been convicted of some crime. Some 202 of the school-readiness centers were closed until staffing changes are made.

There is no excuse for that kind of laxity in conducting background checks and keeping potentially dangerous people off the payroll. Children shouldn't have to face possible threats to their safety in order to get the education they need."

Get the Story:
Safety first: Navajo centers should quickly update background checks (The Salt Lake Tribune 5/15)

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org
Head Start - http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/hsb

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation seeks checks on Head Start employees (5/11)
Navajo Nation gets funds to close down Head Start (5/10)
Navajo Nation launches bid to restore Head Start funds (5/9)
'Murderers' working for Navajo Nation Head Start (5/5)
Navajo Nation loses federal Head Start funding (5/4)