DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Sarrah Troncoso
May 27, 2008 (850) 488-4855

Secretary Butterworth Headlines Critical Adult Protective Services Training
~ Department prepares for rise in adult abuse allegations ~

ORLANDO, FLA. - Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth welcomed Adult Protective Services staff from throughout the state to Orlando today for the first annual statewide training. The Department oversees Florida's Adult Protective Services Program charged with the conducting investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults. The purpose of this training is to share best practice methods amongst adult protective services professionals and agencies throughout Florida.

"Often times the work you do in adult services is overlooked, overshadowed by the importance of protecting the many vulnerable children of our state," said Butterworth. "But you all know, as well as I do, that the need for strong adult services programs is just as critical to Florida's families and communities, more now than ever."

Representatives from various agencies that work with vulnerable adults including the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Elder Affairs will present at the training throughout the week. In addition, members from the Department's Adult Protective Services Select Advisory Panel, which was instituted to provide policy, practice and statutory guidance, will lead discussions throughout the three day training. Their goal is to implement a stronger, more consistent service delivery system in anticipating of increasing caseloads.

"We are going to need to use our creativity, make the most of scarce resources, and persevere. Like the people we help, we too may grow discouraged or tired but we can never waver", said Secretary Butterworth. "We didn't take on this work because it was easy. We do this because it makes a difference in the lives of so many people and we know their need for our services is only growing."

Current statistics reflect a steady increase in adult abuse investigations in recent years with the most drastic increase of approximately 15 percent occurring in the last fiscal year. As a result, the Department is taking proactive steps to prepare adult protective investigators and other adult service providers for the expected increase to their caseloads. The Adult Protective Services Program indicated there have been 42,800 abuse allegations to date. Many of the alleged victims were in need of additional support from another service agency.

To report adult and elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, call 1-800-96-ABUSE. For more information on the Adult Protective Services staff or the Adult Protective Services Select Advisory Panel visit http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/admin/apspanel/index.shtml. To learn more about the Department of Children and Families visit, http://www.state.fl.us/cf_web/.


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