Michigan DHS Sweeps Adult Abuse Under The Rug
An auditor's report concludes that Michigan DHS failed to investigate nearly 20% of all adult abuse cases in the state in recent years. Required monthly face-to-face meetings occurred only 31% of the time as well.
"LANSING -- The Michigan agency charged with investigating abuse claims against vulnerable adults was slammed in an auditor's report Wednesday for failing to investigate all allegations.
The Michigan Department of Human Services is responsible for investigating alleged abuse of seniors and other vulnerable adults through its Adult Protective Services department, but the department did not investigate all allegations before closing cases in 20 percent of the cases reviewed by the Auditor General's office.
[']Our review of 205 selected closed APS investigation cases disclosed that DHS did not address all allegations identified during its investigation for 41 (20%) of the closed investigation cases,['] the auditor's report states.
APS investigators also had a habit of not completing required monthly face-to-face visits with clients, the report states, as auditors found that the visits had not been made in 69 percent of investigations between October 1, 2010 and April 14, 2013.
In one case highlighted in the report, a caseworker made two unsuccessful attempts to meet with a client in person before the case was closed 23 months later with no further investigation.
The department responded to that specific claim, saying that the client spoke with an investigator and denied all the abuse allegations, and later moved out of state, leading to the closure of the case.
DHS director Maura Corrigan said her agency is taking the audit findings seriously and promised changes for the adult protective services department.
[']We have already begun improving the way we serve vulnerable adults by changing the way the agency operates, reorganizing our department, and providing additional training and tools to workers in order to better serve our clients. We take seriously any audit findings, and we know we have more work to do. But we’re committed to making the changes needed to ensure Michiganders – and particularly our most vulnerable residents – get the services they need and deserve,['] Corrigan said in a statement.