Chairman of Aging Committee Supports Efforts to Boost Protection Against Elder Abuse

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, has lent his support to the Elder Justice Act of 2007, introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (UT) and Senator Blanche Lincoln (AR). Chairman Kohl, an original co-sponsor of the legislation, offered the following statement:

"Our nation has for far too long turned its back on the shame of elder abuse. Congress has held hearings on the devastating effects of elder abuse for a quarter of a century. With this bill, we are finally saying enough is enough - elder abuse is unacceptable and we are going to act to stop it.

"This bill takes several important steps to make improvements to what is now an inadequate system of protection for our vulnerable elders. First, it boosts funding for the long-term care ombudsman program, which serves as an advocate for the elderly and disabled in long term care. It also establishes an adult protective services grant program and forensics centers that are charged with developing expertise on elder abuse.

"In addition, it elevates the importance of elder justice issues by creating a coordinating council of federal agencies that will make policy recommendations and submit reports to Congress every two years. And the legislation requires the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services to take a proactive role in funding initiatives aimed at improving training programs and working conditions for long-term care professionals as a strategy for increasing the number of such workers during the coming years.

"The legislation we are introducing today will go a long way to focusing more attention on solutions for elder abuse, and developing new approaches to improve the quality of long-term care."

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