Trusts and Estates

Ca. Trs. & Estates Quarterly Volume 11, Issue 3, Fall 2005


By Leonard W Pollard II, Esq.*


Reportedly, the California Adult Protective Services Program alone receives 92,000 reports of elder abuse per year. The Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act ("EADACPA")1is designed to detect, investigate, prosecute, and prevent elder and dependent adult (collectively, "elder") abuse; it works through existing law enforcement and governmental agency programs (sometimes collectively, "governmental agency programs"). In EADACPA, the Legislature also seeks to encourage private attorneys to take up the cause of abused elders; it provides enhanced or additional remedies for existing causes of action. Private actions are beyond the scope of this article. What follows is a statutory overview of existing governmental programs. And under new legislation effective January 1, 2007, bank and credit union officers and employees will be mandated reporters of suspected financial abuse.

In summary, per statute, each county has existing reporters, investigators, and prosecutors to prevent elder abuse. The local governmental agency programs involve Adult Protective Services ("APS"), the Local Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs and law enforcement groups. Existing statutes require cross-reporting (information-sharing) among some governmental agencies, as discussed herein. (The investigative responsibilities of the local governmental agencies are in addition to the investigative and regulatory responsibilities of applicable licensing agencies.) The Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud ("Bureau") and specified licensing agencies may also be involved in some elder abuse investigations. Additionally, to identify all public and private service agencies available to assist such victims of abuse, this information is available through each county APS, which, by statute, must maintain an inventory of all such service agencies in the county.

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