Colorado Expands Mandatory Reporting Law To Cover The Elderly In 2014
Colorado Expands Mandatory Reporting Law To Cover The Elderly In 2014 – A new Colorado law that goes into effect on July 1, 2014 compels certain professions to report Elder Abuse where they find it. Colorado is the 48th state in the United States that requires mandatory reporting of elder abuse and exploitation.
Mandatory Reporting of Abuse or Exploitation of Elders In Colorado
Specific professional groups will now be required to report suspected:
elder neglect and/or
elder financial exploitation
…..of individuals age 70 and older.
Here Is A List Of The Professional Groups Covered By The New Law:
Who Are Colorado’s Mandatory Reporters?
• Physicians, surgeons, physicians assistants, osteopaths, physicians in training, podiatrists, occupational therapists
• Medical examiners and coroners
• Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners
• Hospital and long term care facility personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients
• Psychologists and other mental health professionals
• Social work practitioners
• Law enforcement officials and personnel
• Court appointed guardians and conservators
• Fire protection personnel
• Community centered board staff
• Personnel of banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other lending or financial institutions
• Caretakers, staff members, employees, volunteers, or consultants for a licensed or certified care facility, agency home, or governing board, including but not limited to home health providers
• Emergency medical service providers
• Physical therapist
• Clergy (pursuant to Section 13-90-109(1)(C), C.R.S.)
A History Of Protecting At Risk Individuals In Colorado
This law adds to a lengthy history of Colorado laws intended to protect at risk adults. In 1991 the Adult Protective Services Act was enacted to protect vulnerable or at-risk adults.
Law enforcement agencies have always been required to investigate reports of abuse of the elderly. This law goes even further.
When The Report Is Made To A Colorado County Social Services Office
Each Colorado county DPS (department of social service) is legally mandated under Section 26-3.1-103, C.R.S., to investigate all reports of abuse, exploitation, or neglect of at-risk adults.
There are specific rules that applied to the evaluation and investigation of these cases by DHS.
These rules include classifying reports as:
no response needed,
urgent and requiring follow up,
requiring a response within 24 hours or
requiring a response within 3 days, followed by appropriate services as needed.
What Do Colorado’s Mandatory Reporters Need To Report?
As a mandatory reporter – if you witness OR you become aware that an at-risk elder has been or is at imminent risk for some form of abuse, neglect, or exploitation), you must make a report to the police within 24 hours.
How To Make The Reprt
A Mandatory Reporter should provide the following:
Name, age, address, and contact information of the at-risk elder;
Name, age, address, and contact information of the reporter;
Name, age, address, and contact information of the at-risk elder’s caretaker, if any;
Name of the person who is potentially inflicting the abuse (alleged perpetrator);
Nature and extent of the at-risk elder’s injury, if any, and whether it is financial or physical;
The nature and extent of the condition that required the report to be made; and
Any other related information.
What If I am Wrong About My Suspicions Or Who the Alleged Abuser Was?
If your report was good faith – the law grants you complete immunity from any criminal charges or a civil lawsuit for damages….unless YOU are the perpetrator of the mistreatment.
What Is My Exposure If I Either File A False Report or Do Not Make A Report At All?
The law creates a class 3 misdemeanor for knowingly making a false report or willfully failing to make a report of mistreatment. If you are convicted you could receive a fine of up to $750, or six months in jail, or both.
After a Report is Made – APS and Law Enforcement Coordinate Their Response
The police – after receiving a report -are mandated to share the report with Adult Protective Services (APS) within 24 hours. The police also must notify the district’s District Attorney (DA) of the report of abuse
Typically the police or Colorado Adult Protective Services (APS) or both may investigate the report. The role of the DA is to review the report for possible criminal charges.
These Agencies Do Different Things…
Adult Protective Services
• Helps at-risk adults when they are unable to meet their own needs and are victims of mistreatment.
• Investigates reports of alleged mistreatment.
• Offers protective case services for at-risk adults who have been mistreated.
• Collaborates with law enforcement, the District Attorney, and other community partners to help protect at-risk adults.
• Will complete a criminal investigation when a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation warrants one.
• Will notify Colorado Adult Protective Services (Colorado Adult Protective Services (APS)) within 24 hours of the report and will coordinate intervention, if needed.
• Will notify the District Attorney (DA) and will provide the DA with a written report of all investigations.
Other Mandated Reporters in Colorado
Mandated reporters of suspected child neglect or abuse :
Colorado Revised Statute 19-3-304 requires many specific professionals and others to report suspected child abuse or neglect .
Persons mandated to report child neglect or abuse include:
• Physician or surgeon, including a physician in training
• Child health associate
• Medical examiner or coroner
• Registered nurse or licensed practical nurse
• Hospital personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients
• Christian science practitioner
• Public or private school official or employee
• Social worker or worker in any facility or agency that is licensed or certified pursuant to part 1 of article 6 of title 26, C.R.S.
• Mental health professional
• Dental hygienist
• Physical therapist
• Peace officer as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S
• Commercial film and photographic print processor
• Firefighter as defined in section 18-3-201 (1), C.R.S
• Victim’s advocate, as defined in section 13-90-107 (1) (k) (II), C.R.S
•Licensed professional counselors
• Licensed marriage and family therapists
• Unlicensed psychotherapists
• Clergy member
• Registered dietitian
• Worker in the state department of human services
• Juvenile parole and probation officers
• Child and family investigators, as described in section 14-10-116.5, C.R.S
• Officers and agents of the state bureau of animal protection, and animal control officers
• The child protection ombudsman as created in article 3.3 of this title
Colorado Expands Mandatory Reporting Law To Cover The Elderly In 2014
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