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Prior knowledge of criminal history allows FSSA to disqualify employment

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The Indiana Court of Appeals Friday concluded that a woman employed by a license-exempt child care ministry in Indianapolis can’t circumvent a prohibition from being employed at any child care ministry by relying on the Indiana Restricted Access Act.

LaSonda Carter served as Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare’s director. She had a prior felony conviction related to controlled substances, which the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said prevented her from working at Rebirth based on I.C. 35-48-4. The two parties entered into an agreement in August 2010 in which Carter would not be on the premises at any time when children were present, and any certificate of registration to operate the daycare would be terminated if she was found at the center when children were present.

The FSSA learned Carter and Rebirth violated the agreed entry, which led to an amended agreed judgment in which Carter again agreed to stay off the premises when children were present.

Carter had a substantiated report naming her as a perpetrator of child abuse or neglect expunged from her record in 2011, and in 2012 she got an order restricting access to her criminal history. She and the daycare claimed that because her criminal record is now restricted and the child abuse allegation expunged, she could work at Rebirth. The trial court denied dissolving the agreed judgment in August 2012. The daycare’s certification has since been terminated by FSSA for other violations.

“The purpose of the (Restricted Access) Act is not ignored when the FSSA applies the provisions of Indiana Code section 12-17.2-6-14, which prevents the employment by a CCM of certain individuals with disqualifying convictions,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote in Rebirth Christian Academy Daycare, Inc. v. Indiana Family & Social Services Administration, 49A04-1209-MI-467. “Here, Rebirth and the FSSA received information of Carter’s disqualifying conviction for employment at a CCM before Carter applied for a restriction of her criminal record. As such, Rebirth is prohibited from employing Carter and is mandated to keep a record of the criminal history check."

The judges noted that the Act doesn’t impose a retroactive prohibition that would prevent an agency from using its prior knowledge in its determination of future actions.

They also held that because Rebirth initiated a civil action by way of its motion to dissolve and/or modify order in First Amended Agreed Judgment, the FSSA, as the defendant, can use Carter’s entire criminal history as a defense to Rebirth’s claim that Carter has become employable by a child care ministry, based on I.C. 35-38-8-6.

“Based on the circumstances before us, we conclude that the FSSA can use its prior knowledge, established prior to Carter’s restriction of her criminal history, to disqualify Carter from being employed by a CCM,” she wrote.

 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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