October 3, 2013 – Adult Protective Services is a vital safety net for thousands of Alameda County seniors and dependent adults who are at risk of financial, physical or mental abuse or neglect. Housed in Social Service Agency’s Department of Adult & Aging Services, Alameda County’s APS staff field 700 reports of abuse and self-neglect every month.
Years of state funding cuts have left APS seriously under-resourced. The county has been shouldering more and more of the cost for APS – with its share growing from about 30% in 2006 to about 40% last year while state funding has dropped from about 27% to about 15% – but this is not enough to accommodate the growing need. Currently, APS is only able to respond in person to 50% of calls.
The tide is about to turn. Increasing Realignment dollars and local innovation are converging in a plan to increase APS and Public Guardian staffing and resources. At the Board of Supervisors’ Social Services Committee meeting on September 23, Randy Morris, Director of Adult & Aging Services announced plans to bring the APS response rate up to 100%.
Starting sometime in the current fiscal year, SSA will request budget augmentation to do the following:
Hire 3 Public Health Nurses in collaboration with Health Care Services Agency. These nurses will be embedded within APS. This collaboration arose from an investigation that showed a significant overlap between individuals using APS, 911 and county health care resources.
Hire additional APS social workers and a supervisor. Added staff will allow APS to respond to 100% of reports, and will restore the “live” call center (currently, calls to APS go to voice mail).
Hire additional Probate conservators and a supervisor. APS is the primary referral source to the Public Guardian. An increase in APS cases will translate into an increase in referrals to the Public Guardian.
Restore APS’s Tangible Services account. A critical tool in the APS toolkit, Tangible Services funds allowed APS to act quickly to put emergency shelter or in-home care in place while access to longer term services was in process, to cover delinquent bills, conduct neuropsych evaluations, or clean up hoarding.
Adult Protective Services was one of the programs included in Governor Brown’s 2011 Realignment plans. The slow but real economic recovery is bringing increased tax revenues, thus increases in Realignment allocations. Realignment gave Alameda County the authority to transfer Realignment dollars from APS to other program accounts, but Randy Morris’ September 23 presentation confirms that the county intends to invest Realignment funding increases in APS. Click here to access a video of the September 23 presentation.
Return to the Senior Services in Alameda County page here.