NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDEF) – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has signed legislation providing extra protections for Tennessee’s vulnerable adult population.
State Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) sponsored the legislation in the General Assembly.
Crimes related to the abuse, neglect and exploitation of Tennessee’s vulnerable adults continue to increase but are extremely under-reported because often these crimes are committed by loved ones or trusted caregivers.
Bill HB1824/SB1848 requires background checks for individuals who work directly with seniors and adults with disabilities, including employees of home care organizations. Prior to passage of this bill, background check requirements among industries dealing with vulnerable adults was inconsistent. This legislation brings consistency and clarity to these requirements.
The bill also requires the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) to establish a working group to focus on the development and implementation of a field guide that will assist state law enforcement in recognizing signs of abuse, as well as provide them with a better understanding of how to investigate and report the possibility of abuse.
The newly passed legislation followed directly from the efforts of the Elder Abuse Taskforce, a group appointed by the Tennessee General Assembly in 2014 to review Tennessee elder abuse laws and make recommendations for improvement. The Taskforce finished their review in the fall of 2015 and provided the General Assembly and the Governor with recommendations in the form of a formal report.