DiSanto Convenes Hearing to Improve Older Adult Protective Services

HARRISBURG—As Chairman of the Senate Aging & Youth Committee, Senator John DiSanto (Dauphin/Perry) convened a joint public hearing today with the House of Representatives concerning the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) investigation into the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s (PDA) protective services system.

PDA directs the program for the prevention and treatment of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment and oversees the 52 local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that investigate abuse allegations.

The OSIG found significant deficiencies in the protective services system, including failure to interview abused adults and substantiate abuse allegations within required timeframes, inadequate and outdated training for intake and caseworkers, and insufficient monitoring and guidance from the PDA.

“After reading the Inspector General Report, I was incredibly concerned about the condition of our older adults protective services system,” DiSanto said. “The investigation revealed a situation in which there were significant and repetitive compliance issues that left vulnerable seniors at risk without the resources and supports they need. These are our parents and grandparents, and one day it will be us.”

As they testified at the hearing, the PDA and AAAs responded to the investigation by overhauling their training standards and updating monitoring tools for oversight. More resources have also been made available in the protective services budget to hire additional staff and add capacity to handle the growing number of financial exploitation cases.

“Today’s hearing was to ensure the Department and Area Agencies on Aging are actively pursuing and implementing the Inspector General recommendations to better serve and protect our senior population,” said DiSanto. “Elder abuse reports are increasing with Pennsylvania’s aging population and we must effectively address the growing needs.”

A recording of the full hearing is available here.

 

CONTACT: Chuck Erdman cerdman@pasen.gov (717) 787-6801