Health, Well Being and Safety
Adult Protective Services and Public Assistance Eligibility Workers
Support state funding for additional Adult Protective Services social workers and Eligibility Workers. (New Position.)
Adult Protective Services
The number of Adult Protective Services investigations is growing in the state and in Fairfax County as the aged population grows. In Fairfax County, investigations have increased from 818 in FY 2007 to 924 in FY 2009. Access to community-based services can reduce personal and family stresses that sometimes lead to APS calls. APS Services may include case management, home-based care, transportation, adult day services, and screenings for residential long-term care. Local Adult Protective Services (APS) programs investigate reports of suspected adult abuse, neglect or exploitation and can arrange for health, housing, counseling, and legal services to stop the mistreatment and prevent further abuse.
Public Assistance Eligibility Workers
Additionally, economic downturns increase demands on Eligibility Workers (employees who determine the eligibility of applicants and recipients for public assistance programs) to respond to assistance requests in a timely manner. When a family is sufficiently stressed to reach out for assistance, rapid response can mitigate further escalation in the family’s downward spiral. From FY 2007 to FY 2009, Fairfax County experienced an 18 percent increase in public assistance cases (from an average monthly caseload of 49,681 to 58,561). In FY 2010, that number has already increased to over 66,000 cases. During the same time period, the County has also experienced a 73 percent increase in applications for assistance that must be processed. These increased demands, without appropriate state funding, may create delays in providing this critical assistance.
Support funding and legislative efforts to curb human trafficking. State efforts should include funding for state and local law enforcement and Commonwealth’s attorneys’ offices for enforcement of state laws under which trafficking violations now may be prosecuted (for example, the statutes governing abduction and extortion); training on recognizing trafficking cases; and funding for victim services, as well as enhanced penalties for trafficking offenses. (Revises and reaffirms previous position.)
Human trafficking is both an international issue and a domestic one, encompassing forced agricultural and domestic servitude as well as sexual exploitation. The federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), passed in 2000 and reauthorized most recently in 2008, created trafficking as a federal crime and imposed federal responsibilities for prosecution of traffickers and the protection of victims. However, Virginia Code neither names human trafficking a crime nor provides for victim protection.
Support increased capacity to address substance abuse and use issues through robust community based prevention programs. (New Position.)
Studies show that substance abuse is among the most costly health problems in the United States. Effective community based prevention programs can reduce rates of substance use and can delay the age of first use. Additionally, prevention programs can contribute to cost savings by reducing the need for treatment – a win-win for all involved.