Suffolk lawmakers yesterday unanimously approved a resolution requiring providers to check the state's sex offender registry before hiring employees.  Day care providers are currently required to submit fingerprint tests to the state for a background check, a process that can take several months.  The bill requires day care centers that receive county funding to contact the New York State Sex Offender Registry before hiring employees or volunteers.  A provider who fails to check with the registry could lose county funding.  Nassau lawmakers are considering similar legislation.  

Yolanda Young and Carver Lewis of Westbury, whose 1 year old son attended Play Play Play in Westbury for more than eight months before they learned the center had employed Emmett Charles, a convicted sex offender, as its handyman.  Charles was sentenced in 1999 to a year in jail after he was convicted for having intercourse with a 7 year old boy.  Play Play Play did not follow state policy in fingerprinting Charles and checking with the State.

Still, Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law, said the situation highlights the importance of scrutiny of employing day care workers.  This case brought out a huge gaping hole in policy, she said.  This is going to keep children much more safe in Suffolk County.