Adult Protective Services Abuse Registry National Report


By Kathleen Quinn, President, NAPSA Board of Directors

Over half the states (26) now have abuser registries for perpetrators of elder and vulnerable adult abuse. In 2016, NAPSA’s Regional Representatives Advisory Board created a volunteer ad hoc committee which examined abuser registries in detail and produced the first-ever, comprehensive report on this recent trend. [1]

To be considered, a state registry had to fit the following definition: “a system for maintaining the identity of individuals who are found, only as a result of an APS investigation, to have abused, neglected or exploited seniors or adults (18 and older) with disabilities living in the community or in a facility.”

Registries in 26 states met these criteria; of those, 21 agreed to submit information to the project. Data was collected through surveys and telephone interviews.

Consistent with APS Programs in general, the committee found that APS registries across the country differ in significant ways, including coverage in terms of age, disability, location of the abuse, offender type, the nature of abuse, the levels of funding and staffing, and more. For example, some registries are limited to offenses which take place in state-regulated facilities only.

The Committee found three components common to APS abuse registries:

  1. A requirement that the perpetrator be notified that they are being placed on the registry;
  2. Due process provisions governing the administration of the registry; and
  3. A specified time limit for appeals.

Challenges were noted:

  • Some responders stated that abuser registries conflict with APS’ primary role of protecting victims and respecting clients’ wishes.
  • Several felt that the creation, funding and maintenance of registries takes resources away from victims and shifts it to perpetrators, and
  • Some thought registries create a false sense of security, as some abusers could continue to be employed and have access to vulnerable adults.

The Ad Hoc Committee completed their report with the following recommendations and suggestions for research:

  1. An APS abuse registry must be adequately funded in accordance with its mission, structure, and goals in order to insure that critical resources are not diverted from already-overburdened APS systems.
  2. An APS abuse registry must provide for dedicated registry staff: APS staff already have full workloads.
  3. States need to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of APS abuse registries.

Areas Requiring Further Research:

  • Measuring the efficacy and efficiency of APS abuse registries
  • States’ approaches to due process
  • The overlap between APS and other abuser registries, including the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities (LEIE) for perpetrators paid through Medicaid
  • The question of varying employment restrictions; e.g., in some states, employers could hire a person on the registry if that person did not provide direct care
  • A closer analysis of people directly hiring their own care staff. Some states omit privately-hired perpetrators from the registry, while others allow listed perpetrators to be directly employed by a vulnerable adult

To read the entire report, see NAPSA ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES ABUSE REGISTRY NATIONAL REPORT (MARCH 2018)

[1] The NAPSA AD HOC COMMITTEE ON Adult Protective Services Abuse Registries: Catherine Bingle (Texas), Andrew Capehart (NAPSA), Linda Chun (Hawaii), Lori Delagrammatikas (California), Steve Fisher (Kentucky), Marta Fontaine (Missouri), Mariah Freark (Massachusetts), Lynn Koontz (New Hampshire), Paige McCleary (Virginia), Catherine Stack (Iowa), Mandy Weirich (West Virginia) and Sharon Zanti (Colorado). Mariah Freark was the principal author of the final report.

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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

We are sincerely appreciative to Judith D. Tamkin for her gift to help establish the USC Center on Elder Mistreatment’s website. Her deep and personal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is helping to reshape our understanding of elder abuse and ultimately save innumerable older adults from abuse and neglect.