New Kentucky Law Establishes Adult Abuse Registry

When choosing a nursing home, long-term care facility or in-home caregiver, one of the most important issues to consider is the safety and security of the facility you choose or the trustworthiness of the caregiver entrusted with your care or that of a loved one. A new Kentucky law was designed to help prevent adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults by their caregivers.

Effective July 15, 2014, all “vulnerable adult service providers” shall be required to question the Cabinet for Health & Family Services (CHFS) whether a prospective employee, independent contractor or volunteer has any substantiated findings of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation, where their duties may involve one-on-one contact with a patient or resident. A “vulnerable adult service provider” includes institutions such as adult day care programs, assisted living facilities, long-term care facilities, and hospitals, as well as hospice programs and home health agencies.

A record of all substantiated findings will be maintained by CHFS in a central registry commonly referred to as the adult abuse registry. This new adult abuse registry is designed to protect vulnerable elderly and disabled adults from caregivers with a documented history of adult abuse, neglect, or exploitation. The registry will record all findings of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation for instances substantiated on and after July 15, 2014.

Collaborating with the Background Check Database

The new registry is another source of information designed to work with the KARES program (Kentucky Applicant Registry and Employment Screening) enacted in late 2013, which provides fingerprinting and national criminal background checks for individuals applying for work in long-term care facilities.

In addition to providing prospective long-term facilities employers with additional tools to make more informative and responsible hiring choices, the law will hopefully hamper the efforts of individuals with a substantiated case of abuse, neglect, or exploitation from being employed as a caregiver in another state.

Consider that in 2013 there were 18,459 reports of adult abuse of Kentuckians 60 and older, 1860 of which were substantiated after investigation, including adult abuse, spousal and partner abuse, caregiver neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation. Millions of adult abuse cases are reported nationwide each year and the number will only grow as our population continues to age and rely more and more on caregivers.

Mandatory Adult Abuse Reporting

Kentucky is a mandatory reporting state if adult abuse is suspected. Kentucky law requires anyone to report suspected adult abuse to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services at 800-752-6200. There are many kinds of adult abuse including physical and mental abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and exploitation. Check out our blog on how to spot the signs of elder abuse.

To learn more about how to recognize the signs of abuse and see the official government report on nursing homes in your area, visit

And if you or a loved one has been abused, neglected, or exploited by a caregiver, please contact the experienced attorneys of the Becker Law Office. We’re here to answer your questions and offer you solutions.