Bentley awards grant to assist elderly, disabled abuse victims

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MONTGOMERY – Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $1.9 million grant to provide care services for elderly and disabled victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The Alabama Department of Human Resources is using the funds to assist its Adult Protective Services program throughout the state. The program provides short-term in-home care and supervision, homemaking and sitter services for elderly and disabled adults who remain in their own homes after an abusive caregiver has been removed.

“Elderly and disabled victims who cannot look after themselves deserve to have help and to be cared for in their time of need,” Bentley said. “I am pleased to help DHR’s efforts to provide comfort and much-needed assistance to those victims who need it most.”

The grant also will help provide short-term funding for placement options for victims who cannot safely remain in their homes, including placement in nursing homes, adult foster care or assisted living facilities.

“I have not yet been made aware of the grant award or how it will specifically affect residents of Cullman County.  However, I can say that our Adult Protective Service program is responsible for the vital, and ever-growing need of protecting one of our most vulnerable populations from abuse, neglect, and exploitation,” said Amy E. Smith, director of the Cullman County Department of Human Resources.

“While the need is continually expanding due to an exponential increase in our elderly and disabled population, services and financial resources available to the department to meet their needs has consistently dwindled over the years.  As our Baby Boomer generation continues to age, and while our community becomes more and more educated on the special needs of the elderly and disabled, the volume of reports to the department and the need for services to ensure safety for those populations will also naturally increase,” Smith continued. “In Cullman County, alone, we have seen a near double in the amount of reports of concern to the department related to these populations.  I am hopeful that the award of this grant will translate into the availability of much-needed services in Cullman County, and, therefore, an improved quality of life for our senior and disabled adults.”

According to DHR officials, about 625 victims need in-home care and supervision services and 15 victims will need short term out-of-home placement each month. In 2015, DHR investigated 8,078 reports of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation. 

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice.

“Through ADECA’s partnership with other state agencies, we are able to provide essential assistance to those most in need,” ADECA Director Jim Byard, Jr. said. “The program supported by this grant will provide an invaluable resource for those victims who might not always be able to care for themselves.”