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MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS

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Board of Certification Considers 'Banning the Box'

On May 10 HUGE progress was made with the certification issue in Massachusetts in which the Board of Certification of CHWs at the Division of Health Professions Licensure at M-DPH considers ‘banning the box’ and conducting a criminal background check (CORI) as the last piece of the application process and only completed after the applicant meets all other criteria for Certification.  The following is an excerpt of the proposed language as part of the draft regulations:

In assessing the CORI, the Board will continue only convictions and matters ‘Continued Without a Finding’ (CWOFs).  The Board will not see or consider arrests, juvenile offenses, or sealed items.  All findings will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  There will be no blanket exclusions.  CORI will not be viewed as a proxy for untrustworthiness or immorality nor will it be considered a sing of character deficiencies.  CORI will be used to assess suitability for certification.

MACHW will continue to advocate that the Board does not impose requirements that create significant barriers for those with conviction and arrest records.  Experts in the Massachusetts CORI Reform and subject matter authorities around the state are working hard to stay ahead of this national issue of potential state credentialing for CHWs.  The Board was recently able to dialog with CHWs with criminal records here in Massachusetts and realized the adverse effects the Board’s regulations could have on people of color and perpetuate racial disparities in certification/licensing processes. 

Resources:

[Report] For immediate release, by the National Employment Law Project:  States Fall Short in Removing Occupational Licensing Barriers for Workers with Records

[PDF] Advantages of Hiring People With Past Criminal Records

[PDF]  Cori & Criminal Records, Greater Boston Legal Services