September 10, 2008

Adoption, Rights Of Elderly Protected By Senate Committee Vote

Senate Finance Committee Passes Bills by Unanimous Vote

Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, applauded today's passage of three bills by the Finance Committee improving adoption incentives, taking steps to reduce elder abuse and protecting patients in long-term care facilities. The committee passed the bills unanimously. The Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act of 2008, S. 3038, extends the current adoption incentives program, provides federal assistance for legal relative guardians, adjusts licensing requirements for non-parental familial living situations and increases support for tribal foster care. Crapo has been a strong advocate for adoption, having previously been involved with the efforts of "Angels in Adoption" and "Voices for Adoption."

"I have had the honor of meeting with many Idahoans who are providing foster care and relative guardianship," Crapo said. "They have shared their stories with me and explained some of the challenges faced in finding permanent homes for children through adoption and relative guardianship. Non-parental familial living situations have unique needs and this bill goes a long way to meet those needs."

The committee also passed two bills protecting elder citizens from abuse, neglect and exploitation-S. 1577, the Patient Safety and Abuse Prevention Act of 2008 and S. 1070, the Elder Justice Act. S. 1577 implements at the national level a successful seven-state pilot program which screened applicants for employment in long-term care facilities. Applicants were screened for a history of substance abuse or serious criminal background. Idaho was one of the seven states that participated in the pilot program. The bill will make up to $3 million available for states that voluntarily choose to participate. S. 1070 establishes a coordinated approach to reduce elder abuse by establishing an elder justice program and an advisory board on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

"Congress has taken steps in the past to protect victims from domestic and dating violence, and sexual abuse. I am proud to have participated in those efforts," Crapo continued. "With these bills, Congress has made it clear that it will also take similar steps to protect the elderly from abuse and exploitation."

The bills will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration.