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May 26, 2005
New York Allowed Sex Offender To Be Foster Parent

The care of foster children remains a nightmare in American society. The majority of people who open their homes to these children do so for the best of reasons, but we expect the state that controls this system to do at least basic investigative checks before dumping their wards into the homes of strangers. New York apparently can't be bothered:

Authorities are investigating how a convicted rapist was allowed to serve as a foster parent to as many as 50 children before his past was discovered.

State laws prohibit all convicted felons, particularly those convicted of sex crimes or crimes of violence, from being foster parents or adopting children, except in rare instances.

But Nicholas Chaney told WWNY-TV in Watertown Tuesday that he may have cared for as many as 50 foster children since late 2001 and even adopted a child while living in upstate New York. Chaney said he listed his felony sex crime conviction on his foster parent application form when he signed up in November 2001.

When I adopted my son, I had to undergo an FBI background check and a home study conducted by the state of Minnesota, even though David had already lived with me for years and was my wife's son. I have no issues with that; I'd rather the state be safe now than sorry later. However, given the hoops I had to jump through just to adopt a child already in my home, New York's lackadaisical approach to Chaney's status boggles the mind. Didn't they bother to even fingerprint him before warehousing kids at his residence? Or did they merely shrug and hope he wasn't exactly what he turned out to be?

New York state officials promise an investigation into the county's approval of Chaney as a foster parent, but unless New York does something different than every other state, the adoption Chaney procured didn't come from Jefferson County but from Albany. Will the state investigate that as well?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 26, 2005 6:54 AM

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