552 active DCF foster parents have prior criminal conviction - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

552 active DCF foster parents have prior criminal conviction

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BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Foster parents with prior criminal records were allowed to take children into their homes in 650 cases from 2013 to present under the policy at the state's embattled Department of Children and Families.

DCF says there are 552 active homes caring for children where the guardian has a prior criminal conviction. Under DCF's policy, prospective foster parents may be convicted of crimes like soliciting sex from a minor, motor vehicle homicide, or even armed assault. The rules were last updated in 2008.

DCF says one foster parent who committed a crime in the most serious category was approved for a waiver and has a child currently in the home. The agency says that situation involved a man who committed crimes in his teens and close to a decade later was approved to be the foster father for his step-daughter.

A spokesman for DCF tells Fox 25 Political Reporter Sharman Sacchetti that more than half the placements are "kinship placements," meaning the child was taken in by a relative after their current living situation was deemed unsuitable.

DCF Spokeswoman Cayenne Isaksen has issued a statement, reading: "The safety of a child is DCF's first priority when decisions are made about their placement, and the Department promotes kinship placements where appropriate to keep families strong."

She says a "2000 Superior Court decision bars DCF and other agencies from automatically disqualifying an individual from employment solely based upon a prior conviction" and that the "Department considers various factors, such as the nature of a crime, circumstances, and timeframe as it reviews applications to become a foster parent. Waivers are rarely sought in serious categories, and the department uses a standard, well-defined process outlined by regulations and law to review these cases."

A DCF official tells FOX 25 of all cases with children currently in the home, more than 90 percent are "kinship placements." That official says there are no convictions for sexual crimes.

DCF officials say 97 percent of all felony convictions took place more than 10 years ago. Sixty-seven percent took place more than 20 years ago.

The A-D waiver system is included in DCF regulations and policy, which can be seen by clicking here.

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