Introduction – Before this new Law – Colorado was one of only four states that does not have a law requiring mandatory reporting to adult protective services for social workers, physicians and other professionals.
The old law simply says that a report should be made and “urges” professionals to report within 24 hours.
The General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 12-078, which clarifies definitions and modifies requirements concerning the mistreatment, self-neglect, and exploitation of at-risk adults.
Among other things, Here IS What The Bill Does:
• expands the definition of an at-risk adult to include persons over the age of 70;
• for observed or suspected mistreatment or self-neglect, it requires a person in a specified profession or occupation (mandatory reporter) to make an immediate oral report within 24 hours;
• for observed or suspected fiscal exploitation, it urges a mandatory reporter to make an immediate oral report;
• removes the requirement that an abuse reporter follow an oral report within a written report within 48 hours;
• creates a class 3 misdemeanor for failure to report mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult; and
• increases the penalty for releasing confidential information about an adult protective services investigation from a class 2 petty offense with a maximum penalty of a $300 fine to a class 3 misdemeanor.
In addition, the bill directs each county to require each protective services employee to undergo a fingerprint background check, and it creates the 17-member Elder Abuse Task Force, which is authorized to meet during the 2012 legislative interim. The purpose of the task force is to study, make recommendations, and report on various issues related to at-risk elderly adults.
SB12-078, Protections for At-Risk Adults
A Closer Look At the Bill – New Law:
This bill modifies the Human Services Code (Title 26), Protective Services for Adults at Risk of Mistreatment or Self-Neglect (Article 3.1), by adding privacy protections for at-risk adults, requiring written permission from the subject of alleged abuse or neglect, and clarifying the methodology of and circumstances surrounding investigations of allegations of abuse.
Personnel who will interact with at-risk adults are required to undergo a background check. A new section is added to the statute, creating an at-risk adult protective services task force responsible for studying, making recommendations, and reporting on issues relating to the mistreatment, self-neglect and exploitation of at-risk adults.
Provisions of the Bill:
Part (1), Article 3.1, Title 26 – Protective Services for At-Risk Adults – is modified to include:
In the event of a report of exploitation, self-neglect or mistreatment, an evaluation of the individual circumstances will be conducted in the place of an immediate investigation which was previously the required procedure.
A clause to protect the privacy of the at-risk adult’s information in the event that a joint investigation is necessary and their personal information is shared.
A clause that requires written consent of the at-risk adult, and the availability of financial records to agencies investigating on behalf of that individual.
Provision for counties to require prospective employees who will interact with at-risk adults to complete a fingerprint-based criminal history records check through CBI at the expense of the prospective employee.
The bill also adds a new Part (3) that:
Establishes an at-risk adult protective services task force which is responsible for studying, making recommendations, and reporting on issues relating to: Reporting of mistreatment, self-neglect and exploitation Continue reading