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Oct 25, 2013 by |

Napa is the First California County to Require Background Checks for Senior Caregivers

ATTORNEY NEWSLETTER

In California, and many other states across the nation, nearly anyone can become a private caregiver.  Napa County is doing its best to ensure that criminals are not able to become caregivers. Napa is the only California county to require home care providers to apply for and carry a Caregiver Permit.  Napa elder abuse attorneys say that the program should be expanded to help protect senior citizens from caregiver fraud.

The Caregiver Permit program in Napa is the first of its kind in the state of California.  Caregivers who have permits have passed background checks and are legally permitted to work inside a private home.  County officials have attempted to spread the word about the program, but estimate that approximately half of Napa’s caregivers are working without permits.  According to a spokesman from the Napa County Commission on Aging, the Napa District Attorney has said that there are consequences for continuing to ignore the new requirements, including jail time.  Napa elder abuse attorneys remind the public to check the credentials of any person who you hire to provide care for a senior citizen family member.

It was more than two years ago that Napa County enacted the Caregiver Ordinance.  To meet the requirements of the new ordinance, anyone who is paid to care for the elderly or those with disabilities to pass a background check and apply for a permit.  Physical abuse, theft, and other crimes would disqualify an individual from becoming a registered caregiver.  These new requirements are meant to protect senior citizens from caregiver fraud.  Napa elder abuse attorneys say that any measure that protects elders from abuse is welcome news.

According to the Napa County Commission on Aging, more than one million senior citizens are abused or mistreated every year by those they rely on for protection or care.  A recent UCLA Center for Health Policy Research Report showed that caregiver services will increase substantially in the coming years because the baby boom generation is large and approaching the age when they will need in home care.

From July 2012 to June 2013, Napa County received 49 Caregiver Permit applications, and another 53 renewal applications.  Out of all the application received, only one person did not pass the check and was denied the permit.  The application fee is $90 and the permit itself costs another $20.  The permits must be renewed every 12 months to remain valid.  The renewal fee is $9 for the first year and $67 for each year after that.

Any senior citizen who is planning to hire a caregiver should demand to see the laminated permit card.  The laminated permit card has a photograph of the caregiver, the permit number, and an expiration date.  All information on the card can be verified by Napa County Agency on Aging, either via telephone or the internet.

Licensed agencies typically charge more than independent caregivers.  Thus, many senior citizens choose to hire independent caregivers because of financial reasons.  Independent caregivers often advertise their services in newspapers or online listing sites.  The Commission on Aging suggests that senior citizens should only contact those individuals who include their caregiver permit numbers in the advertisement.

Evans Law Firm, Inc. handles elder abuse, financial elder abuse, physical elder abuse, annuity fraud, consumer fraud class actions, insurance and banking fraud cases.  If you think that you have witnessed or are the victim of elder abuse, or financial fraud then contact Evans Law Firm, Inc. at 415-441-8669 for a free and confidential consultation, or email us at info@evanslaw.com

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