Indiana lawmakers look to ban sex offenders from babysitting

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Indiana lawmakers are a step closer to making sure your children are kept safe, specifically in a daycare or in the hands of a babysitter. 

State senator Frank Mrvan drafted a bill wanting to make it illegal for convicted sex offenders to advertise and work as a babysitter. 

Convicted sex offenders are already prohibited from working at schools, youth centers and public parks but there is no ban in place to keep them from working as babysitters. Something many thought was already in place. 

“The children’s life is in my hands,” said Creative Learning Hands owner Brittany Wells. 

Many say it’s common sense, not allowing convicted sex offenders to work with children, but Indiana lawmakers found a loophole that they’re trying to close. 

“I just can’t imagine why someone would think it would be ok for a sex offender to work around children on a daily base,” said Wells. 

Senate bill 258 was drafted after an indiana man on the sex offender registry was found advertising babysitting services on facebook. Because of a loophole, the man couldn’t be arrested. 

So the bill states it will prohibit a sexually violent predator or an offender against children from working as a babysitter or as, or for, a child care provider. It also prohibits someone from living in a place that provides those services. 

“Safety is very important. Whenever parents are searching for a daycare, that is the number one thing they look for,” said Wells. 

Tri-State daycares were shocked to learn there wasn’t already a ban in place. “It actually makes me feel sad since I’m here not only to keep the children safe but my employees as well and me too. You just never know what someone is thinking or their intentions,” said Wells. 

Like many daycares in the Tri-State, potential employees at Easterseals Rehabilitation Center go through a lengthy background process. Checking the state and county sex offender registry  is just one of many things their workers must pass.
    
The bill was passed unanimously in the committee. It could take effect in July if it’s signed into law.

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(This story was originally published on February 4, 2019)

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