Cooperative Effort with Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to protect the Elderly and Disabled
Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners, at the request of Mayor Shelley Vana, directed staff to work with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) in researching an ordinance requiring licensure and fingerprinting of home caregivers. This Ordinance will require licensure of those who qualify as “Home Caregivers” under the Ordinance, by the County’s Department of Public Safety, Consumer Affairs Division. The Ordinance will be enforced primarily by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Mayor Shelley Vana stressed the importance of the ordinance. “Palm Beach County takes the health and welfare of our citizens very seriously and this ordinance will add a layer of protection for our most vulnerable residents.”
Palm Beach County is second among Florida’s counties for number of residents aged 60 and as the population of elderly and disabled persons in Palm Beach County increases, so does the pool of potential victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The PBSO Financial Crimes Unit, investigates exploitation of the elderly and disabled, and recognizes that most of the crimes investigated involve unlicensed home caregivers who are not subject to background screening.
This Ordinance will require level 2 background screening and licensure of Home Caregivers who receive compensation from vulnerable adults in exchange for assisting vulnerable adults with covered activities of daily living and/or instrumental activities of daily living. The Ordinance exempts most relatives of the vulnerable adult, volunteers for charitable organizations, and specific licensed professionals.