Napa County’s Caregiver Law Goes into Effect; 1st County to Require Permits
Now that it’s past July 1st, Napa County’s caregiver law has gone into effect. Napa has became the first county in the state to require in-home caregivers of the elderly to obtain a permit from the government as a way to protect senior citizens from fraud, violence, and neglect at the hands of caregivers who exploit elderly people due to their age and infirmity. Elder abuse is widely acknowledged to be a growing problem and law enforcement has applauded the regulations, which require a background check. Questions remain whether other counties will follow suit or if the state will enact similar regulations. Napa County District Attorney Gary Lieberstein commented in a statement that “Every two minutes, an elder becomes a victim of some form of abuse in California. In reality, that number could be much higher because elder abuse is under-reported. And elder abuse in California is on the rise, especially with the current economy."
County officials are hoping that those seeking a caregiver in Napa will check to ensure that the worker has a permit from the county so that they know whether the potential employee has a criminal background. The permits the county is issuing are valid for one year and must be renewed annually. While supporters of the new system argue it will provide much-needed protection for the elderly, critics contend the regulations are particularly invasive when the care-giver happens to be a relative. KQED filed the following report: