Proos: Senate set to approve bills to protect seniors and foster care adults from criminals

LANSING — The Michigan Senate is expected to approve legislation on Wednesday to protect seniors and foster care adults from criminals by allowing FBI criminal history checks on licensees and representatives of adult foster care and nursing home facilities, said Sen. John Proos.

“It is estimated that thousands of Michigan seniors and vulnerable adults are victimized each year,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Every case of abuse or exploitation is heartbreaking, but the worst cases are the ones that could have been easily prevented: cases where the perpetrator had a criminal history. I co-sponsored this reform to utilize the expertise and resources of the FBI to ensure criminals are not running or working at our nursing homes.”

Senate Bills 787 and 788 would enable the Michigan State Police to conduct a criminal records check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation on an applicant for an adult foster care or nursing home facility license. The criminal records check requirement would also apply to an owner, partner, or director of the applicant who has regular direct access to residents or who has on-site facility operational responsibilities for the facility.

“As baby boomers retire and our seniors at care facilities become a larger segment of our society, it is more important than ever to ensure they have the protections they deserve,” Proos said. “Thorough criminal background checks enabled by these measures are a vital step to safeguard elder Michigan adults from criminals.”

Proos noted that the reforms follow Senate passage last year of an 18-bill package to protect seniors at risk of being exploited without placing an unmanageable burden on their guardians.

Those measures included initiatives to improve coordination between state and local authorities; enhance banking, annuity and insurance protections for seniors; establish reporting requirements for suspected abuse and neglect or knowledge of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities; and create an “Amber Alert” style alert for missing seniors.