Letters to the Editor

Checking care providers

Reporter Barbara Anderson profiled families caring for aging loved ones, and wrote about the challenges of hiring trustworthy caregivers for older relatives [stories March 11]. At the heart of both stories are the dedicated men and women who selflessly and compassionately provide care to people who need assistance in their daily living.

In California, nearly 1.5 million frail, elderly, chronically ill or disabled people depend on long-term care to continue living safely in their own homes, with dignity and independence. More than 360,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities receive home care through the state's In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program.

Though cases of fraud and abuse are negligible in this program, there's no doubt that a system for background checks would provide a measure of reassurance and security to families seeking assistance. That's why our organizations, representing more than 200,000 IHSS homecare workers, are sponsoring legislation to provide for these checks -- SB 868, Sen. Mark Ridley Thomas. We sponsored the same legislation last year; it passed both houses of the Legislature, but was vetoed by the governor. It is our sincere hope the governor signs this important bill this year.

Tyrone Freeman


California United Homecare Workers

United Long-Term Care Workers Union