LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new state law could allow social workers in Los Angeles County to find out if any foster parent or agency worker has a criminal past.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reports lawmakers in Sacramento have passed Senate Bill 1139 following a recent motion that was unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors.

As part of the licensing process for foster homes, the state has granted thousands of waivers to potential foster parents and foster family agency employees who have criminal records – essentially overriding restrictions against an individual with a criminal background to care for and oversee a placed foster child, according to Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

There are hundreds of such waivers are currently in effect in LA County, according to Department of Children and Family Services spokesperson Armand Montiel.

“We don’t know exactly how many exceptions have been granted or how many homes that we’re using have exemptions, but we believe it’s roughly around 1,400 individuals,” said Montiel.

The legislation is set to take effect in 2015.

In a statement, Antonovich said he sought the change in state law to provide county officials with access to information on the criminal waivers given to agencies and parents with which they contract.

“Los Angeles County has a large number of foster youth placed in foster homes licensed by the state through private Foster Family Agencies and it is imperative that social workers have access to all of the information related to foster homes to best assess the safety and well-being of children in their care.”

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