Arkansas Maltreatment Registry helps keep offenders away from children

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, Ark. — In Arkansas, child abuse offenders get far from a slap on the wrist.

Those who harm children can end up on a list that can keep them from getting jobs.

Being found guilty of hitting or harming a child won't just land you behind bars, it's a history that can follow you into your future.

The Maltreatment Registry makes sure offenders won't forget their mistake.

The Department of Human Services maintains the registry.

If a person ends up on that list it could make it hard for them to land a job working around children.

"If they show up on the list they can't work for the district," Osceola Superintendent Michael Cox said.

School districts aren't the only ones who rely on the registry.

Court appointed special advocates use it too.

"If we have people who are not going to take care of them and not going to show them that love then we need to know that. That's what happens with the Child Maltreatment Registry,"

Even though the list is used to determine who can work with children, some parents we spoke to didn't even know it existed.

"That is a very good thing. Although most of us have never heard anything about it," parent Laura Lloyd said.

Lloyd has seven children and she thinks the registry saves everyone some pain.

"I would like to know everything has been checked before something happens and one of my children get hurt," Lloyd said.

The list has been around since 1998, and to be added to the list a person has to be found guilty of child abuse.

"It helps to weed out those people who have harmed children in the past, because sometimes they are likely to do it again,"

After one year, if the person doesn't repeat their actions they can request to be removed from the list unless the abuse is caused by death or serious injury.

According to the Osceola School district, they actually pay an additional fee to make sure candidates are screened through the registry before hire.