< Back to H.R. 448 (111th Congress, 2009–2010)

Text of the Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009

This bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress and was passed by the House on February 11, 2009 but was never passed by the Senate. The text of the bill below is as of Feb 12, 2009 (Referred to Senate Committee).

Source: GPO

IIB

111th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 448

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

February 12, 2009

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

AN ACT

To protect seniors in the United States from elder abuse by establishing specialized elder abuse prosecution and research programs and activities to aid victims of elder abuse, to provide training to prosecutors and other law enforcement related to elder abuse prevention and protection, to establish programs that provide for emergency crisis response teams to combat elder abuse, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Elder Abuse Victims Act of 2009.

I

Elder Abuse Victims

101.

Analysis, report, and recommendations related to Elder Justice programs

(a)

In general

Subject to the availability of appropriations to carry out this section, the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall carry out the following:

(1)

Study

Conduct a study of laws and practices relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, which shall include—

(A)

a comprehensive description of State laws and practices relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(B)

a comprehensive analysis of the effectiveness of such State laws and practices; and

(C)

an examination of State laws and practices relating to specific elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation issues, including—

(i)

the definition of—

(I)

elder;

(II)

abuse;

(III)

neglect;

(IV)

exploitation; and

(V)

such related terms the Attorney General determines to be appropriate;

(ii)

mandatory reporting laws, with respect to—

(I)

who is a mandated reporter;

(II)

to whom must they report and within what time frame; and

(III)

any consequences for not reporting;

(iii)

evidentiary, procedural, sentencing, choice of remedies, and data retention issues relating to pursuing cases relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(iv)

laws requiring reporting of all nursing home deaths to the county coroner or to some other individual or entity;

(v)

fiduciary laws, including guardianship and power of attorney laws;

(vi)

laws that permit or encourage banks and bank employees to prevent and report suspected elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(vii)

laws relating to fraud and related activities in connection with mail, telemarketing, or the Internet;

(viii)

laws that may impede research on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(ix)

practices relating to the enforcement of laws relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and

(x)

practices relating to other aspects of elder justice.

(2)

Development of plan

Develop objectives, priorities, policies, and a long-term plan for elder justice programs and activities relating to—

(A)

prevention and detection of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(B)

intervention and treatment for victims of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation;

(C)

training, evaluation, and research related to elder justice programs and activities; and

(D)

improvement of the elder justice system in the United States.

(3)

Report

Not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, submit to the chairman and ranking member of the Special Committee on Aging of the Senate, and the Speaker and minority leader of the House of Representatives, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and make available to the States, a report that contains—

(A)

the findings of the study conducted under paragraph (1);

(B)

a description of the objectives, priorities, policies, and a long-term plan developed under paragraph (2); and

(C)

a list, description, and analysis of the best practices used by States to develop, implement, maintain, and improve elder justice systems, based on such findings.

(b)

GAO recommendations

Not later than 18 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall review existing Federal programs and initiatives in the Federal criminal justice system relevant to elder justice and shall submit to Congress—

(1)

a report on such programs and initiatives; and

(2)

any recommendations the Comptroller General determines are appropriate to improve elder justice in the United States.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $6,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

102.

Victim advocacy grants

(a)

Grants authorized

The Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, may award grants to eligible entities to study the special needs of victims of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

(b)

Authorized activities

Funds awarded pursuant to subsection (a) shall be used for pilot programs that—

(1)

develop programs for and provide training to health care, social, and protective services providers, law enforcement, fiduciaries (including guardians), judges and court personnel, and victim advocates; and

(2)

examine special approaches designed to meet the needs of victims of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

(c)

Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

103.

Supporting local prosecutors and courts in elder justice matters

(a)

Grants authorized

Subject to the availability of appropriations under this section, the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall award grants to eligible entities to provide training, technical assistance, policy development, multidisciplinary coordination, and other types of support to local prosecutors and courts handling elder justice-related cases, including—

(1)

funding specially designated elder justice positions or units in local prosecutors’ offices and local courts; and

(2)

funding the creation of a Center for the Prosecution of Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation to advise and support local prosecutors and courts nationwide in the pursuit of cases involving elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $6,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

104.

Supporting State prosecutors and courts in elder justice matters

(a)

In general

Subject to the availability of appropriations under this section, the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, shall award grants to eligible entities to provide training, technical assistance, multidisciplinary coordination, policy development, and other types of support to State prosecutors and courts, employees of State Attorneys General, and Medicaid Fraud Control Units handling elder justice-related matters.

(b)

Creating specialized positions

Grants under this section may be made for—

(1)

the establishment of specially designated elder justice positions or units in State prosecutors’ offices and State courts; and

(2)

the creation of a position to coordinate elder justice-related cases, training, technical assistance, and policy development for State prosecutors and courts.

(c)

Authorization of Appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $6,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

105.

Supporting law enforcement in elder justice matters

(a)

In general

Subject to the availability of appropriations under this section, the Attorney General, after consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Postmaster General, and the Chief Postal Inspector for the United States Postal Inspection Service, shall award grants to eligible entities to provide training, technical assistance, multidisciplinary coordination, policy development, and other types of support to police, sheriffs, detectives, public safety officers, corrections personnel, and other first responders who handle elder justice-related matters, to fund specially designated elder justice positions or units designed to support first responders in elder justice matters.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $8,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

106.

Evaluations

(a)

Grants under this title

(1)

In general

In carrying out the grant programs under this title, the Attorney General shall—

(A)

require each recipient of a grant to use a portion of the funds made available through the grant to conduct a validated evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out through the grant by such recipient; or

(B)

as the Attorney General considers appropriate, use a portion of the funds available under this title for a grant program under this title to provide assistance to an eligible entity to conduct a validated evaluation of the effectiveness of the activities carried out through such grant program by each of the grant recipients.

(2)

Applications

(A)

Submission

To be eligible to receive a grant under this title, an entity shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Attorney General may require, which shall include—

(i)

a proposal for the evaluation required in accordance with paragraph (1)(A); and

(ii)

the amount of assistance under paragraph (1)(B) the entity is requesting, if any.

(B)

Review and assistance

(i)

In general

An employee of the Department of Justice, after consultation with an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services with expertise in evaluation methodology, shall review each application described in subparagraph (A) and determine whether the methodology described in the proposal under subparagraph (A)(i) is adequate to gather meaningful information.

(ii)

Denial

If the reviewing employee determines the methodology described in such proposal is inadequate, the reviewing employee shall recommend that the Attorney General deny the application for the grant, or make recommendations for how the application should be amended.

(iii)

Notice to applicant

If the Attorney General denies the application on the basis of such proposal, the Attorney General shall inform the applicant of the reasons the application was denied, and offer assistance to the applicant in modifying the proposal.

(b)

Other grants

Subject to the availability of appropriations under this section, the Attorney General shall award grants to appropriate entities to conduct validated evaluations of grant activities that are funded by Federal funds not provided under this title, or other funds, to reduce elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

(c)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $7,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2015.

107.

Definitions

In this title:

(1)

Elder

The term elder means an individual age 60 or older.

(2)

Elder justice

The term elder justice means—

(A)

from a societal perspective, efforts to—

(i)

prevent, detect, treat, intervene in, and prosecute elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and

(ii)

protect elders with diminished capacity while maximizing their autonomy; and

(B)

from an individual perspective, the recognition of an elder’s rights, including the right to be free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

(3)

Eligible entities

The term eligible entity means a State or local government agency, Indian tribe or tribal organization, or any other public or nonprofit private entity that is engaged in and has expertise in issues relating to elder justice or a field necessary to promote elder justice efforts.

II

Elder Serve Victim Grant Programs

201.

Establishment of Elder Serve Victim Grant programs

(a)

Establishment

The Attorney General, acting through the Director of the Office of Victims of Crime of the Department of Justice (in this section referred to as the Director), shall, subject to appropriations, carry out a three-year grant program to be known as the Elder Serve Victim grant program (in this section referred to as the Program) to provide grants to eligible entities to establish programs to facilitate and coordinate programs described in subsection (e) for victims of elder abuse.

(b)

Eligibility requirements for grantees

To be eligible to receive a grant under the Program, an entity must meet the following criteria:

(1)

Eligible crime victim assistance program

The entity is a crime victim assistance program receiving a grant under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.) for the period described in subsection (c)(2) with respect to the grant sought under this section.

(2)

Coordination with Local Community Based Agencies and Services

The entity shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Director that such entity has a record of community coordination or established contacts with other county and local services that serve elderly individuals.

(3)

Ability to create ECRT on timely basis

The entity shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Director the ability of the entity to create, not later than 6 months after receiving such grant, an Emergency Crisis Response Team program described in subsection (e)(1) and the programs described in subsection (e)(2).

For purposes of meeting the criteria described in paragraph (2), for each year an entity receives a grant under this section the entity shall provide a record of community coordination or established contacts described in such paragraph through memoranda of understanding, contracts, subcontracts, and other such documentation.
(c)

Administrative provisions

(1)

Consultation

Each program established pursuant to this section shall be developed and carried out in consultation with the following entities, as appropriate:

(A)

Relevant Federal, State, and local public and private agencies and entities, relating to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and other crimes against elderly individuals.

(B)

Local law enforcement including police, sheriffs, detectives, public safety officers, corrections personnel, prosecutors, medical examiners, investigators, and coroners.

(C)

Long-term care and nursing facilities.

(2)

Grant period

Grants under the Program shall be issued for a three-year period.

(3)

Locations

The Program shall be carried out in six geographically and demographically diverse locations, taking into account—

(A)

the number of elderly individuals residing in or near an area; and

(B)

the difficulty of access to immediate short-term housing and health services for victims of elder abuse.

(d)

Personnel

In providing care and services, each program established pursuant to this section may employ a staff to assist in creating an Emergency Crisis Response Teams under subsection (e)(1).

(e)

Use of grants

(1)

Emergency crisis response team

Each entity that receives a grant under this section shall use such grant to establish an Emergency Crisis Response Team program by not later than the date that is six months after the entity receives the grant. Under such program the following shall apply:

(A)

Such program shall include immediate, short-term emergency services, including shelter, care services, food, clothing, transportation to medical or legal appointment as appropriate, and any other life services deemed necessary by the entity for victims of elder abuse.

(B)

Such program shall provide services to victims of elder abuse, including those who have been referred to the program through the adult protective services agency of the local law enforcement or any other relevant law enforcement or referral agency.

(C)

A victim of elder abuse may not receive short-term housing under the program for more than 30 consecutive days.

(D)

The entity that established the program shall enter into arrangements with the relevant local law enforcement agencies so that the program receives quarterly reports from such agencies on elder abuse.

(2)

Additional services required to be provided

Not later than one year after the date an entity receives a grant under this section, such entity shall have established the following programs (and community collaborations to support such programs):

(A)

Counseling

A program that provides counseling and assistance for victims of elder abuse accessing health care, educational, pension, or other benefits for which seniors may be eligible under Federal or applicable State law.

(B)

Mental health screening

A program that provides mental health screenings for victims of elder abuse to identify and seek assistance for potential mental health disorders such as depression or substance abuse.

(C)

Emergency legal advocacy

A program that provides legal advocacy for victims of elder abuse and, as appropriate, their families.

(D)

Job placement assistance

A program that provides job placement assistance and information on employment, training, or volunteer opportunities for victims of elder abuse.

(E)

Bereavement counseling

A program that provides bereavement counseling for families of victims of elder abuse.

(F)

Other services

A program that provides such other care, services, and assistance as the entity considers appropriate for purposes of the program.

(f)

Technical assistance

The Director shall enter into contracts with private entities with experience in elder abuse coordination or victim services to provide such technical assistance to grantees under this section as the entity determines appropriate.

(g)

Reports to Congress

Not later than 12 months after the commencement of the Program, and annually thereafter, the entity shall submit a report to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Special Committee on Aging of the Senate. Each report shall include the following:

(1)

A description and assessment of the implementation of the Program.

(2)

An assessment of the effectiveness of the Program in providing care and services to seniors, including a comparative assessment of effectiveness for each of the locations designated under subsection (c)(3) for the Program.

(3)

An assessment of the effectiveness of the coordination for programs described in subsection (e) in contributing toward the effectiveness of the Program.

(4)

Such recommendations as the entity considers appropriate for modifications of the Program in order to better provide care and services to seniors.

(h)

Definitions

For purposes of this section:

(1)

Elder abuse

The term elder abuse means any type of violence or abuse, whether mental or physical, inflicted upon an elderly individual, and any type of criminal financial exploitation of an elderly individual.

(2)

Elderly individual

The term elderly individual means an individual who is age 60 or older.

(i)

Authorization of Appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Justice to carry out this section $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2011.

Passed the House of Representatives February 11, 2009.

Lorraine C. Miller,

Clerk.