"This report is significant because people with mental illness, developmental disabilities or other treatment needs are at the highest risk for abuse and neglect," said Marie Cervantes, Director of the Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations in DHS. "To fully benefit from services, people must be safe from abuse. Learning more about the types of abuse victims experience and the perpetrators gives us critical information we need to improve our investigative tactics and effectively target our prevention efforts," she said.
The report reviews allegations by abuse type in the variety of mental health and developmental disability service settings offered in Oregon. These include residential settings such as treatment facilities and adult foster homes, the Oregon State Hospital, and community-based programs. The report also reviews allegations of abuse against children receiving therapeutic treatment for emotional, mental health or behavioral issues in residential or community programs.
In 2011, the Office of Investigations and Training within DHS directly investigated or oversaw county investigations of allegations of abuse and neglect. When abuse allegations are substantiated, victims are provided protective services such as counseling or alternative living arrangements. DHS and county investigations may be used to sanction or remove abusive caregivers. They also may be used to require additional training or policy revision by providers to prevent further abuse.
DHS makes referrals to state licensing boards and the Oregon Department of Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit for review and action regarding licensed caregivers with substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect. Early this year, the Office of Investigations and Training became part of the Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations. DHS consolidated all staff involved in protecting vulnerable individuals into one office to enhance the state's ability to provide better protection and prevention education to Oregonians.
The Office of Adult Abuse Prevention and Investigations provides increased capacity for outreach and education, help in standardizing abuse investigations for all vulnerable populations, more statewide consistency, and the ability to better compile and use data and metrics to more effectively track trends.