By Alexandria Osborne
Washington State Journal 

List of 'mandated reporters' for vulnerable adults expanded


Last updated 3/22/2023 at 2:34pm

More people working in public sector jobs would be required to report suspected abuse of senior adults under a bill now being debated in the state Legislature.

“Typically, the first idea that we have that abuse or neglect is occurring comes through mandatory reporters,” said Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro Woolley, the bill’s sponsor. “It also lets everybody know who they can share information with under what circumstances.”

Typically, mandated reporters are members of law enforcement, social workers and professional school personnel and employees of social service, welfare, mental health, home care and home health agencies.

Bea Rector, DSHS aging and long-term support administration assistant secretary, said in 2022, about 66,000 reports of the abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults were researched.

Senate Bill 5370 expands the number of “mandated reporters,” who can determine if “vulnerable adults” should be considered for interventions such as possible guardianship or admission to a care facility. The bill makes employees of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, as well as certified residential services staff and operators, mandated reporters.

Vulnerable adults are currently defined as people who are over the age of 60, unable to care for themselves, are subject to guardianship, have a developmental disability, are admitted into a facility or are receiving care through an individual provider.

The Department of Social and Health Services Adult Protective Services investigates reports of abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.

The bill was approved by the Senate and is now under consideration in the House.


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