San Francisco supervisors today passed a resolution calling for a change in a state homecare services program that bans convicted felons from providing care to elderly and disabled persons.

mc_logo_signature.gifThe Department of Social Services policy prohibits anyone with conviction for a felony, or certain serious misdemeanors, from serving as an In Home Supportive Services independent homecare provider. The program is funded by Medi-Cal.

According to the resolution, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos, the IHSS program provides critical services to 22,000 elderly or disabled San Franciscans. The services range from bathing and dressing individuals to cleaning the home, preparing meals and doing laundry.

Some 18,000 people in San Francisco, including some with prior criminal convictions, are employed as IHSS workers, according to the resolution.

San Francisco’s employment policies call for the review of a job applicant’s criminal history to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The resolution urges the Department of Social Services to follow a recommendation by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for low-wage workers, to “remove the unlawful absolute ban on people with convictions, thereby promoting opportunities for workers to be considered fairly based on their current qualifications, experience and dedication rather than on a mistake of the past.”

The Department of Social Services rule went into effect Nov. 1, but is being contested in Alameda County Superior Court, according to Social Services spokeswoman Lizelda Lopez.

Lopez said a temporary restraining order on the policy has been issued pending a resolution of the litigation, but the program is still excluding those convicted in the past 10 years of felony child abuse or elder abuse, or of defrauding a government health care or supportive services program.

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