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.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • Greg Dewar

    This is easily one of the most cynical moves by so-called Progressives on the board, and one that expended a lot of time and effort on something that will have no effect at all.

    I watched the hearing on SFGOV TV and it was truly sad to see all these people spend their time promoting this, as if somehow this was going to help them or their cause, when in fact it was bullshit.

    A resolution by the Board of Supervisors has about as much effect on state law as a group of supervisors writing their opinion on a bar napkin and sending it in to the mail to the Governor. It’s just an expression of opinion and has ABSOLUTELY NO EFFECT AT ALL.

    It makes the Supervisors feel and look good, it makes everyone think something’s been done, but in fact nothing will change. The governor and the state of California either don’t give a damn what the SF BoS thinks, or already know it anyway, and will do whatever they feel like regardless of the feelings of a few board members.

    Until San Franciscans note the difference between feel good do nothing resolutions and real action, with the force of law, they’ll always feel good about themselves, but won’t get anything done.

  • bloomsm

    As a parent, who leaves his child with a daycare worker, I would like to think we also can have adult daycare services without hiring a convicted felon for the task. I’m really getting disgusted with the notion that criminal behavior is acceptable, and we should take into account someone’s background, circumstances, anything that makes them sympathetic (but otherwise totally unsuitable for positions of responsibility).

    This also is a classic example of the Board wasting time while Rome burns. Solving the systemic violence in certain areas of the City? Fuck it. Taking charge on infrastructure projects that must be completed? Fuck it. Rant and rave about stuff we cannot affect, with non-binding resolutions? Let’s do it!

    This is exactly what the SF Weekly recently wrote about: the City that gets nothing done.