In a demonstration of bipartisan support, Gov. Steve Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers and House Speaker Greg Stumbo united in the Capitol today to support the creation of an adult abuse registry in Kentucky.
At least 23 other states have some kind of registry to report abuse of adults.
Gov. Beshear and legislative leaders were joined by Sen. Sara Beth Gregory, of Monticello, sponsor of SB 98 and Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, of Lexington, sponsor of HB 256.
Both SB 98 and HB 256 would enhance current background check processes by mandating that certain adult service providers go through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to determine if a prospective employee or volunteer is the perpetrator of a substantiated finding of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation. CHFS supports the establishment of such a registry to secure greater protections for vulnerable adults, including people who are aged or have a disability.
"I have long advocated for legislation to protect not only our vulnerable adults but also their families. The family members who hire these caretakers have a right to know whether potential employees have a documented history of hurting, neglecting or exploiting the elderly," said Gov. Beshear. "This registry provides a simple, reliable check to give families and our senior citizens good information when hiring caregivers."
"This registry will go a long way in protecting some of Kentucky's most vulnerable citizens while giving their families greater peace of mind," said House Speaker Stumbo. "With the bipartisan support we're seeing today, I am confident we will see this registry soon become law."
"Sen. Gregory has worked tirelessly on this issue--one to protect seniors and provide their families with the peace of mind that our most vulnerable population is being protected," said Senate President Stivers. "Throughout the process, Sen. Gregory's leadership has resulted in the building of a bipartisan consensus to move the issue forward. I applaud her dedication to making this legislation become reality."
"I appreciate the bipartisan support and effort of everyone who has worked on this issue," said Sen. Gregory. "This legislation is an important and necessary step to protect elderly and disabled individuals by giving employers the opportunity to know if a prospective employee has a substantiated history of abuse."
"It is imperative that we continue doing everything possible to protect our most vulnerable population," said Rep. Palumbo.
The 2012-2014 biennial budget appropriated $2.2 million in funding to support the creation of a registry, but the enabling legislation was not enacted. This funding was included in the CHFS Department for Community Based Services' budget, which is the agency that oversees Adult Protective Services. If legislation is enacted this year, those funds would be used to support the registry.