(Host) The state is promising to eliminate a backlog of investigations into whether elderly Vermonters were abused, neglected or exploited.
The Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living signed an agreement to correct the situation this week.
A number of advocacy groups, including Vermont Legal Aid, had threatened to sue the department if it did not agree to eliminate what they said was a backlog of 300 cases.
Susan Wehry is the commissioner of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living. She says the department has hired additional staff to help address the situation. And she says there are plans to develop better systems for responding to – as well as preventing – cases of abuse or neglect.
(Wehry) "Once we begin to understand the factors that lead to likelihood of abuse or neglect, particularly in situations with people who have cognitive impairment – that’s a group that’s at very high risk for exploitation, neglect and abuse – by putting in adequate supports for that population, then we should be able to prevent – and not just intervene, but actually prevent abuse from arising."
(Host) The agreement calls for the state to eliminate the backlog of complaints by October 1st.