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Colorado was one of three states that did not require reporting of elder mistreatment. Effective July 1, 2014, the bill, S.B. 13-111 requires specific professionals and individuals to report to law enforcement instances of suspected abuse (physical and sexual), caregiver neglect, and exploitation of at-risk elder age 70 and older.

It also addresses the need to improve accountability and funding for investigations and protective services so that the right services will be available at the right time to help ensure at-risk elders’ safety and well-being.

A number of issues necessary for an effective protection services system are addressed:
  • Reducing average caseload ratios  
  • Providing needed emergency and protective services
  • Creating a new data management system for Adult Protective Services (APS) to improve efficiency and accountability
  • Establishing a task force to study the need for a public guardian and conservatorship program
  • Developing recommendations for combating financial exploitation

An “at-risk elder” is defined in the criminal statute as a person age 70 or older.

Mandatory reporters include: health care providers such as hospitals, judicial, law enforcement officers, probation related professionals, behavioral and social work professionals, clergy, fire protection personnel such as firefighters and paramedics, banking and financial institutions, Community-Centered Boards, staff and volunteers of licensed or certified health care facilities such as long-term care facilities or agencies.

Effective July 1, 2014 reports of suspected elder abuse should be made to law enforcement. Law enforcement is required to forward all reports to county protective services within 24 hours to ensure that needed protective services are provided concurrent with the criminal investigation. A new section in Title 18 was established to facilitate criminal prosecutions of alleged perpetrators.

The law requires training, education, and outreach for county APS staff, law enforcement, mandatory reporters, and the general public.

Accountability and transparency to the public and General Assembly are required through a report from the Department of Human Services on the implementation and outcomes of the program on or before December 31, 2016.

S.B. 13-111 does not affect the current APS statute in Title 26 (except for the language to align Titles 18 and 26), which provides for continued “urged” reporting of mistreatment, exploitation, self-neglect of an at-risk adult age 18 and over by the same group of reporters specified in the criminal code for at-risk elders.
Source: Colorado Department of Human Services

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