Ohio’s Adult Protective Services receives a much-needed boost

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The advocacy efforts of thousands of Ohioans, our state’s Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging (o4a) finally paid of when Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 483 on June 16, increasing the state's Adult Protective Services (APS) funding to a notable high of $10 million.

The inclusion of this significant investment demonstrates recognition by the General Assembly and the Governor’s Office that protection of seniors must be a top priority for the state. The funding will strengthen Ohio’s capacity to protect the state’s vulnerable elderly from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

“Council on Aging works with APS departments on a daily basis,” said Council on Aging Communications Director Laurie Petrie. “Our care managers frequently become aware of situations that put our in-home care clients at risk. Most commonly, these include financial exploitation, self-neglect, and dangerous living conditions such as a client living with relatives who are dealing drugs.  We share a common goal with APS: to enable older adults to live safely at home for as long as they want to be there."

Ohio state law requires that county APS departments investigate alleged cases of abuse of people age 60 and older, as well as disabled and other vulnerable adults. More than 15,000 incidents are reported statewide each year, however, many more incidents go unreported. Policy Matters of Ohio estimates the actual number of incidents is between 75,000 and 214,000 each year.  With the population of Ohio's elderly growing, the increase of care provided in the home, and underreported cases, the present funding of a half a million dollars a year for all 88 counties in Ohio did little to help. This $10 million investment in Ohio's adult protective services will help ensure that this vulnerable population has somewhere to turn for help.

Ohio APS funding

HB 483 also includes a new Adult Protective Services workgroup to be appointed by the Governor to provide recommendations on the distribution of the funds for adult protective services to the counties. The work group will also examine the long-term needs of the adult protective services system and resources to build a strong system going forward.

The Truth About Elder Abuse

  • Victims of elder abuse are 3 times more likely to die than their peers, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports
  • 1 in 9 people 60+ experiences abuse according to a Department of Justice study
  • 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse is reported, according to the National Adult Protective Services Association
  • Nevertheless, APS departments from across the country are receiving more reports of elder abuse. This likely indicates greater public awareness of the issue rather than only a spike in abuse cases. 

Learn how to report elder abuse in your county.

Sources for this article: Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and Policy Matters Ohio