Parents urged to use Indiana’s new Child Abuse Registry when shopping for child care

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.-- Public safety officials are urging Hoosier parents to make use of a new tool that could potentially save their family from tragedy.

Indiana’s new Child Abuse Registry became available for free to the public last month.  The registry works much like Indiana’s Sex Offender Registry, but provides information on those convicted of crimes related to child abuse and neglect.

“So a sex offense, a battery on a child, child selling, child neglect, neglect of a dependent,” explained Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Carrie J. Miles.

Miles and other law enforcement officials hope more Hoosier parents will become aware of the registry and utilize it when making decisions about child care for their children.  While licensed day care facilities perform criminal background checks on prospective employees, many parents turn to unlicensed facilities or at-home day cares, where background checks may or may not be performed.

“I would also encourage parents to think about, if they use an in-home daycare, not just the person who’s in charge of the daycare, but who’s regularly coming in and out of that house,” Miles said.  “Who else lives there?”

The registry, known as “Kirk’s Law,” was inspired by the tragic case of 19-month old Kirk Coleman.  Coleman died from injuries he sustained at an Elkhart County daycare that had a history of child abuse.

Online records show the Indiana Department of Child Services has received more than 19,000 substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect in Indiana so far this year.

Miles believes the Child Abuse Registry could prove to be a life-saving tool for who are choosing a daycare or babysitter.  Parents can also use the registry to check out any adult who spends regular time around their children, whether that be a neighbor or the parents of one of their own child’s friend.

“Parents really need to use all the tools they have available,” Miles said.  “Common sense, references, criminal background checks.”

The registry is limited to convictions going back to 2012.  If you want to search further, or look for other kinds of convictions, you can use the state’s public court record website, MyCase.