AG Derek Schmidt Creates Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council

TOPEKA – (April 18, 2019) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today announced that he is establishing an advisory council to assist efforts in combating the abuse of elder and dependent adults in Kansas.

The Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Prevention Council will advise and make recommendations to the attorney general and to the statutory Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Unit that was created by the Legislature and housed at the attorney general’s office. The Council will be tasked with:

  • Taking testimony and gathering information about elder and dependent adult abuse in Kansas;
  • Establishing subcommittees or working groups on topics related to elder and dependent adult abuse;
  • Assisting in developing local or regional multidisciplinary teams to prevent, detect and investigate abuse, neglect or exploitation of elder or dependent adults; and
  • Coordinating and engaging in prevention activities for education, outreach and awareness, including the development of a publicly available clearinghouse of information on elder or dependent adult abuse prevention.

“The number of Kansans age 65 and older is projected to double over roughly the next generation,” Schmidt said. “Sadly, along with that will come more tragic cases of physical, emotional and financial abuse of those who are vulnerable. At the attorney general’s office, we have been working to strengthen our capacity to prevent, detect, investigate and prosecute cases of elder and dependent adult abuse and to help local authorities do so as well. Formally bringing together key stakeholders with expertise in preventing the abuse of elder and dependent adults is our next important step in preparing for this ongoing demographic change in our state.”

Under authority of the statute that created the Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation Unit, Schmidt has proposed regulations to create the Council. A public hearing on the proposed regulations is scheduled for June 21 at 9 a.m. at the attorney general’s office, 120 SW 10th Ave., Topeka. Copies of the proposed regulations and the economic impact statement for the proposed regulations can be viewed at www.ag.ks.gov/regulation-hearings. Members of the public also may submit written comments on the regulations through that website or by mail to the attorney general’s office.

Between 1900 and 2010, the number of Americans age 65 and older grew from fewer than 5 million to more than 40 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Over the same time, the portion of the population in that age bracket rose from about 3% to more than 12%. By one estimate, only one in every 24 cases of elder abuse is detected or reported. Despite that underreporting, statistically one in every 10 Americans age 65 or older who lives at home will become a victim of abuse.

The National Association of Attorneys General under Schmidt’s leadership as president in 2017-2018 focused on strengthening efforts nationwide to combat elder abuse through its initiative “Protecting America’s Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse.” That year-long initiative culminated with a national summit on elder abuse hosted by Schmidt in Manhattan last year.

Schmidt in 2016 reorganized the Kansas attorney general’s office to establish its Fraud and Abuse Litigation Division that focuses, in part, on elder abuse. The new division prosecutes elder abuse cases ranging from homicides to criminal scams and fiduciary abuse. The attorney general’s office also has expanded its focus on elder abuse cases in its Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Division and its Consumer Protection Division.

The proposed new Council will replace an existing advisory group on consumer protection for seniors. The new Council will focus on a broader range of abuse of elder and dependent adults in Kansas.