County now has adult protective services
Protective services helps address needs of vulnerable senior citizens
Lake County now has a dedicated adult protective services unit thanks to funds from the senior services levy passed by county voters last November.
There has been $300,000 allocated for 2018 to the Lake County Department of Job and Family Services for the unit. The funds will allow for three dedicated adult protective services social workers and a supervisor.
Adult protective services helps address the needs of vulnerable senior citizens by working to prevent, reduce an remedy conditions causing endangerment while attempting to maximize the adult’s
independence and self-determination.
It was recommended in an October 2015 study commissioned by the county that they have social workers dedicated to adult protective services.
“At the time, those duties were spread amongst all of our social workers,” Lake County Job and Family Services Director Matt Battiato said. “They were doing both children services and adult protective services.”
After the recommendation, the department modified its model. Battiato said they tried to the best of their ability to have dedicated adult protective services social workers, but that was not possible due to the cost associated with that. As is the case with child services, the state of Ohio does not dedicate much money to adult services. The Lake County caseworkers primarily handling adult cases still had some child protective services cases.
The funding allocated from the levy will allow the department to hire two new child protective services case workers to cover what the workers now dedicated to adult services will be dropping.
“Elder abuse is often referred to as a silent epidemic because it is grossly underreported and receives little public attention,” Lake County Senior Services Coordinator Alyea Barajas said
Lake County has an aging population. About 25 percent of the county’s current population is 60 or older. By 2030, it’s projected it will jump to 34 percent and would outnumber resident 20 years and younger.
Barajas said that as the senior population continues to increase, so too does the likelihood of incidences of abuse, neglect and exploitation of that group.
Commissioner Daniel P. Troy added there are scam artists attempting to take advantage of seniors, as well as financial and physical abuses taking place either by strangers or even family members.
“The people of this senior generation are the folks that did so much over the years to make this such a great county,” Troy said. “It is imperative that we strive wherever possible to protect the quality and enjoyment of the remainder of their lives.”
The Lake County Department of Job and Family Services will reapply for funding from the levy in 2019.
This was the second major announcement regarding senior services levy funds since voters approved the 0.5-mill renewal levy with an additional 0.3 mill levy.
In April, it was announced that the Western Reserve Community Development Corporation has taken over the housing rehabilitation for Lake County senior citizens. The program had previously been handled by the Lake County Council on Aging.