Bill Description: Senate Bill 1028 would redefine terms describing mistreatment of older adults and expand the role of government in caring for older adults.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
Senate Bill 1028 would amend several sections under Chapter 53, Title 39, Idaho Code, to replace references to "abuse, neglect or exploitation" of a "vulnerable adult" with the term "maltreatment," which the bill defines as "the intentional or negligent infliction of pain or injury on a vulnerable adult, including financial exploitation, human trafficking, neglect, physical abuse, psychological abuse, or sexual abuse."
The bill also newly adds the term "Adult protective services" or "APS" to Idaho Code, which it defines as "the legal and bureaucratic systems and protections safeguarding vulnerable adults through investigation of APS reports alleging maltreatment and arrangements for the provision of emergency, supportive, or prevention services necessary to reduce or eliminate risk of harm."
This addition of "supportive" and especially "prevention" services is an expansion of the role of government related to older adults.
The bill also redefines the services offered under the "Adult Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Act." They would no longer mean providing "assistance to caregiving families experiencing difficulties in maintaining functionally impaired relatives in the household." Instead, the definition would be changed to providing "assistance to a caregiver to help maintain a vulnerable adult in the household."
Once again, we see an expansion of the scope of government. Rather than limiting services to "caregiving families experiencing difficulties," they will now be made available to any caregiver helping to "maintain a vulnerable adult" even if they aren't experiencing any difficulty doing so.
The bill also adds a new provision that says "If a [maltreatment] report is unsubstantiated, the commission or provider may assist the vulnerable adult or the vulnerable adult's caregiver with prevention services." It is troubling that government is expanding its role even in situations where an allegation has proven unsubstantiated.