Requires the office of children and family services to track and report elder abuse and to issue a biennial report to the governor, legislature and office for the aging regarding the incidence of elder abuse in the state.
Ayes (58): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Aubertine, Bonacic, Breslin, DeFrancisco, Dilan, Duane, Espada, Farley, Flanagan, Foley, Fuschillo, Golden, Griffo, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson C, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Leibell, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Maziarz, McDonald, Monserrate, Montgomery, Morahan, Nozzolio, Onorato, Oppenheimer, Padavan, Parker, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Schneiderman, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Stachowski, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousins, Thompson, Valesky, Volker, Winner, Young
Excused (4): Diaz, Johnson O, Kruger, Squadron
BILL NUMBER: S5376
TITLE OF BILL :
An act to amend the social services law, in relation to tracking and reporting elder abuse
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL :
Requires certain agencies to track and report elder abuse.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS :
Amends section 473 of the social services law to:
*Requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to collect all relevant data on abuse and neglect located in state and local agencies including the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Department of Health, and the Office of the Aging to identify the incidence among the senior population;
* Requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to establish base metrics for use by reporting agencies to measure the incidence of elder abuse; and
* Requires the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to issue an annual report to the Governor and legislature on the incidence of elder abuse in the state, and provide relevant information regarding prevention and treatment programs.
It has been said that a society's greatness is measured by the manner in which it treats its most vulnerable members. Perhaps our most at-risk community are seniors who need assistance to perform simple tasks that most of us take for granted every day- moving around, eating, bathing, among other critical functions. Thankfully, there are many members in our community who have devoted their lives to helping these dependent seniors- nursing home workers, home health care aides, family members and friends. These caretakers provide an invaluable service to seniors-in-need and society-at-large and one that is increasingly important as the elderly population grows.
When dependent seniors become victims of physical or psychological abuse, or are neglected or taken advantage of financially by their caretakers, more than a sacred trust is broken; an abhorrent act has occurred that violates our society's sense of decency. Yet we have been slow to give elder abuse the attention it rightfully deserves. While awareness of elder abuse has risen in recent years, there is much we can do in New York to gain a better understanding of the issue, increase prevention, and provide needed services to victims.
Currently, there are no definitive statistics on incidence or prevalence of elder abuse in New York State, and there is much discrepancy as to its definition. Agencies that provide services to elder abuse victims don't always keep data tracking seniors affected. Other governmental entities possess data on abuse and neglect but don't distinguish between the senior and adult population. Across agencies, there is a lack of collaboration to determine the exact frequency of elder abuse in New York.
We do know that at least 15,000 cases of elder abuse were reporting in 2007 to Adult Protective Services alone, the primary agency tracking elder abuse. Actual figures may be much higher, as the National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that for every reported case of elder abuse, another five go unreported. This bill requires the Office of Children and Family Services, which Adult Protective Services is part of, to establish base metrics for various state agencies gathering abuse data and collect this information. By identifying the extent of the problem, the state can take a critical first step toward ensuring all our seniors live their golden years with dignity and security.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY :
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS :
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.