BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2435
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   April 6, 2010

                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS
                                 Mary Hayashi, Chair
                  AB 2435 (Lowenthal) - As Amended:  March 24, 2010
           
          SUBJECT  :   Elder and dependent adult abuse.

           SUMMARY  :   Requires marriage and family therapists (MFTs),  
          licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), psychologists, and  
          licensed professional counselors (PCCs) to have training on the  
          recognition and reporting of suspected elder and dependent adult  
          abuse as requirements for licensure.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Encourages the Board of Psychology (BOP) and the Board of  
            Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to include coursework regarding the  
            assessment and reporting of elder and dependent adult abuse in  
            the required training on aging and long-term care issues prior  
            to licensure or license renewal.

          2)Adds instruction on the assessment, reporting, and treatment  
            related to elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect, to the  
            coursework and continuing education requirements prior to  
            licensure or licensure renewal as a psychologist, MFT, LCSW,  
            or PCC commencing January 1, 2012.

          3)States that it is anticipated and encouraged that hours of  
            experience gained prior to being licensed as an MFT will  
            include working with elders and dependent adults who have  
            physical or mental limitations that restrict their ability to  
            carry out normal activities or protect their rights.

          4)States legislative intent and findings.

           EXISTING LAW  provides for the licensure and regulation of  
          psychologists, PCCs, LCSWs and MFTs and establishes specified  
          coursework requirements, including child abuse assessment and  
          reporting.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :   

           Purpose of this bill  .  According to the author's office,  
          "225,000 Californians are victims of elder and dependent adult  








                                                                  AB 2435
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          abuse each year, with family members constituting more than  
          two-thirds of the alleged abusers.  However, the statistics for  
          reports of elder abuse do not mirror the increasing occurrences  
          of elder abuse in California; experts estimate that only one in  
          14 cases is reported.  For financial abuse, the statistics are  
          even more startling with only an estimated one in 100 incidents  
          ever reported.
           
          "The aging of California will increase the demand for  
          professionals with expertise in the aging process and abuse  
          recognition and reporting.  Health and mental health care  
          providers are key to stopping elder and dependent adult abuse  
          and helping families in crisis.  Just like physicians, nurses,  
          and health aides, MFTs, LCSWs, psychologists, and PCCs are  
          mandated reporters for suspected elder and dependent adult  
          abuse.  In order to not only comply with abuse reporting laws,  
          but also to adequately serve an aging population and their  
          families and caregivers, providers need education and training  
          on the aspects of aging, including the recognition and reporting  
          of elder and dependent adult abuse.  

          "Degree programs and licensing requirements for MFTs, LCSWs, and  
          psychologists already include training on elder and dependent  
          adult abuse recognition and reporting.  However, while state law  
          requires degree programs to include training in the biological,  
          sociological, and psychological aspects of aging, state law is  
          silent on the inclusion of elder and dependent adult abuse.

          "The goal of this bill is not to place additional requirements  
          on licensees, but instead to codify in state law the existing  
          education and training on elder and dependent adult abuse  
          recognition and reporting."

           Background  .  California has more older adults than any other  
          state and the number is expected to double in the next ten years  
          with the aging of the baby boomers.  

          According to the Attorney General's office, over 225,000  
          Californians are victims of elder and dependent adult abuse each  
          year, with family members constituting more than two-thirds of  
          the alleged abusers.  However, the statistics for reports of  
          elder abuse do not mirror the increasing occurrences of elder  
          abuse in California; experts estimate that only one in 14 cases  
          is reported.  For financial abuse, the statistics are even more  
          startling with only an estimated one in 100 incidents ever  








                                                                  AB 2435
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          reported.
           
           Support  .  The Alzheimer's Association writes in support, "Given  
          the dismal reporting of elder abuse, only one in 14 cases, it is  
          critical that policy makers take steps to address this serious  
          and very sad situation.  Your bill AB 2435 is an appropriate and  
          reasonable step.  By educating those likely to encounter elder  
          adult populations in their work, AB 2435 will hopefully help  
          curb the abuses that unfortunately go unreported in the majority  
          of cases."

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Commission on Aging (Co-Sponsor)
          Congress of California Seniors (Co-Sponsor)
          County Welfare Directors Association of California (Co-Sponsor)
          Alzheimer's Association
          City and County of San Francisco

           Opposition 
           
          None on file.
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Rebecca May / B. & P. / (916) 319-3301