AARP has supported a lawsuit against the state for failure to adequately investigate allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly or disabled adults. The suit was filed by Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont with support from other advocates for seniors and the disabled. Although the state promised over a year ago to eliminate a backlog, hundreds of reports are awaiting investigation. Investigators are responsible for 40 to 45 cases each, roughly double the national standard. Moreover, the state’s Adult Protective Services (APS) unit has not begun investigating new reports within 48 hours, as required by law.
See also: Elder Abuse Awareness
“It’s unfortunate that such a troubling situation has come this far,” said Greg Marchildon, AARP state director. “Our hope now is that we can move toward resolving it.”
Since the suit was filed in December, APS has refused to provide ongoing information. However, reports continue to come from the community about delays in commencing and completing investigations, particularly with reports of financial exploitation.
APS has reported recently that they have assigned all the investigations. But this has resulted in rising caseloads. Investigators of financial exploitation have 55 open cases – more than double the national average. These cases will take months to complete, and it will take months before the person who stole money from vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities is put on the abuse registry. APS also reports as of January 31st there were only 500 open investigations. APS reported 784 open investigations on December 3, 2011. What about the 284 missing investigations? There is also concern that APS has not developed an emergency response for emergency nights and week-ends abuse and neglect calls.
Urge your legislators to weigh in! Call 1-800-322-5616 and leave a message for your senator or representative asking them to ensure and support adequate resources to address the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of seniors and people with disabilities.