The state is not doing enough to
protect vulnerable adults from abuse-- that's the allegation in a lawsuit filed
Wednesday by Vermont Legal Aid and Disability Rights Vermont.
The advocates first raised this issue
a year ago. They say Adult Protective Services has failed to respond in a
timely manner to abuse allegations and is carrying a backlog of more than 300
Among the specific shortcomings-- a
lack of emergency coverage on nights and weekends, and a case load for
investigators that is twice the national standard. "Vulnerable
adults are people incapable of protecting themselves from the nephew who steals
the Social Security check or the caregiver who leaves the woman with physical
and cognitive limitations sitting in her feces," said Barbara Prine of the
Disability Law Project.
State officials did not
respond to our requests for an interview. Back in June, they said they had put
in place new procedures to help improve response time and eliminate the
backlog. But they say a lack of funding limits what the agency can do.
The advocates for the elderly and disabled
say Vermont should have a system in place for Adult Protective Services that
functions at the same speed as Child Protective Services.