Adult protective services need boost from state
Posted November 01, 2018 in Press Releases
Ohio’s rural areas, towns and cities are strengthened when aging Ohioans can stay connected to their communities. Ohio’s laws have changed to increase the number of people required to report elder abuse, and have added the growing problem of financial exploitation to the definition of elder abuse in Ohio. In order to meet the minimum need, state funding would have to increase nearly tenfold, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.
The HealthPath foundation estimates that 105,000 elderly Ohioans are abused each year. Ohio needs 350 case workers to handle that caseload. At about $65,000 a year per caseworker – including overhead – that would cost approximately $22.75 million a year. The new report explains how Ohio funds adult protective services and calls for state policymakers to increase resources dedicated to enabling Ohio’s senior citizens to thrive and continue contributing to their communities.
Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Elder Justice Commission estimated an even higher number -- one in 10 or more than 220,000 elderly Ohioans – are victims of abuse. Despite a modest request of $10 million a year from the Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services, state lawmakers allocated just $2.7 million a year in the 2018-2019 state budget.
“Ohio is doing far too little to ensure safety for our oldest neighbors” said Policy Matters Senior Project Director Wendy Patton. “We can strengthen our communities and protect elderly residents, by investing more resources in Adult Protective Services.”
The underinvestment is most intensely felt at the local level. Under Ohio law, counties are responsible for protecting those 60 and over from physical, emotional or financial abuse, abandonment or neglect. Insufficient funding for adult protective service compound deep cuts to the state’s local government fund, which lost $1.2 billion since 2010.
“Ohio lawmakers should provide $22.75 million a year,” Patton said. “This will create a solid infrastructure for protection. Ohio’s seniors worked hard to raise families and contribute to their communities. We owe it to them to protect them in their later years.”