A Kentucky Senate committee has approved additional protections for vulnerable Kentuckians who receive personal care services. The bill is aimed at reducing adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation by creating a registry with the state.
Monticello Senator Sarah Beth Gregory is the sponsor of the legislation. “Well, currently Kentucky does not have any system in place to prevent individuals who have been substantiated upon for abuse, neglect, or exploitation from going out and seeking employment with a different employer still taking care of vulnerable individuals," said Gregory. "So, it’s very important that we create this registry system to protect those who aren’t in a position to protect themselves.”
Shannon McCracken, a personal care services case manager, says there is already a way to identify child abusers and people on the nurse aide abuse registry. But, she adds, there is no way to identify adults working in this capacity with vulnerable people.
“There’s currently no way to detect if someone has been substantiated upon for abuse or neglect at another agency and as an employer I could hire them with no way of knowing that or detecting that they have been a substantiated offender unless criminal charges were brought against them,” said McCracken.
Senate President Robert Stivers asked why more of these type of cases are not prosecuted. After the vote, McCracken says she believes many guardians think bad actors will be terminated when their cases are resolved.
“I believe that guardians think that they have some sense of security that we’re gonna terminate the person and the situation is resolved, that we’re protecting the participant. I think they assume that there is a way to prevent them from working with another vulnerable adult, because it seems there would be, but it doesn’t exist currently,” said McCracken.
The bill goes on the full Senate.