A new state registry is meant to help parents look into the backgrounds of the people their children spend time with.
Last year, the Indiana State Legislature approved a child abuse registry, which became available in July. The registry, which is searchable by name, will provide information about everyone convicted of child abuse-related offense in Indiana from the past five years.
In Johnson County, the exact number of people on the registry was not available, but the Department of Child Services handled 160 substantiated cases of child abuse in Johnson County through May this year, according to department records.
The registry will be a valuable resource to parents, especially as more families need child care services, Johnson County deputy prosecutor Ryan Bland said.
“In an age where many people have two-income households, we are looking more and more outside of the home for child care for younger and older kids,” he said.
Johnson County has enough licensed child care providers to serve only 20 percent of kids 5 or younger, according to the Indiana Youth Institute. The county’s child care center’s have room for 2,500 kids in that age range, but there are about 12,500 kids that age living in the county.
Doing backgrounds checks is extremely important for parents, especially in situations where they may be getting their child care services from somewhere other than a registered daycare, such as a home day care or neighbor, Bland said.
Bland described the registry as being similar to the state’s sex offender registry.
Someone convicted of child neglect, child selling, battery against a child or a sex offense against a child would appear on the registry. While the registry is a helpful tool, it does have limits. The registry only covers convictions going back to July 1, 2012.
Parents should check the registry, but they should also look at other sources, such as the state’s sex offender registry and its general convictions database, Bland said.
Someone who has been charged with a crime, but not convicted, would not appear on the registry, he said.
An online registry containing information about recent child abuse convictions is now available for parents to search.
How to search: Visit public.courts.in.gov, click on “Search Child Abuse Registry” and enter the name of the person you want to check.