By Roy Strom
(Reuters) - The state of California should immediately investigate why more than 1,000 sex offenders have the same addresses as licensed foster homes and facilities housing children, a new report by the state auditor said.
The findings posted on the state auditor website on Thursday matched up a California sex offender database with the Department of Social Service's list of registered foster homes. The report said more than 600 of the cases where addresses matched were "high risk."
Social Services got the list of addresses to investigate in July of this year, the report said. So far, 99 percent of the addresses have been investigated.
Those investigations have led to 36 sex offenders being barred from foster homes, four foster home licenses revoked and another four suspended temporarily. Sex offenders were found to be living or present at four of the foster homes in question.
In a letter to the California governor and legislature, Elaine M. Howle, the state auditor, urged Social Services to continue to match up sex offenders's addresses with licensed foster homes.
The findings came in a wide-ranging audit on the state's child welfare services for abused and neglected children that also found many counties do not investigate child deaths caused by abuse or neglect.
Although such investigations are not required by law, the report said county welfare services could learn how to take better care of foster or abused children by looking into the cases.
(Editing by Greg McCune)