Kentucky: Adult abuse registry would protect elderly and disabled
The Courier Journal * January 25, 2013
While Kentucky maintains a registry of people found to have abused or neglected children, disability advocates say there is no accessible system to track personal caregivers who abuse, neglect or exploit elderly or disabled adults.
Since 2009, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has substantiated more than 7,400 such allegations, state figures show. But most do not result in criminal charges, and the findings aren’t accessible to potential employers, according to the Kentucky Protection and Advocacy Division.
After a handful of failed attempts in recently years, advocates and several lawmakers are undertaking a new push in this year’s legislature with two bills to create an Adult Abuse Registry, aimed at keeping abusers from moving from job to job among group homes, personal care companies and families who hire such workers
Senate Bill 98 (SB 98), is sponsored by Senator Sara Beth Gregory of Monticello and co-sponsored by Senator Denise Harper Angel of Louisville.
House Bill 256 (HB 256), is sponsored by Representative Ruth Ann Palumbo of Lexington.
Several years ago the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) was awarded $3 million federal grant (matched with $1 million in state funds) to provide national fingerprint background checks for caregivers. In 2013, the Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare adopted the Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening Program (KARES) regulation, 906 KRS 1:190, to implement fingerprint background check program; KARES was officially implemented by the Governor implemented on December 10, 2013. KARES adoption is mandatory for all state-operated and owned long-term care providers. It is voluntary for all privately-operated facilities (e.g., nursing homes and 3-bed community homes), although there is much pressure for these to fall in line. The Adult Protection Registry legislation, if passed, would make it mandatory for them.