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Mandated Reporters Must Look Out for Some Adults As Well as Minors

Most mandated reporter advice, including mine, concentrates on our responsibilities toward minors. Youth-serving organizations in Georgia, however, also must report abuse, neglect, or exploitation of disabled adults or elders. The governing statute specifically mentions organizations listed in the law requiring mandated reports of child abuse. Youth organizations, then, have a specific responsibility to report maltreatment of disabled adults within their purview.

The definition of "disabled adult" includes anyone with an impairment that "substantially affects an individual’s ability to: (A) Provide personal protection; (B) Provide necessities, including but not limited to food, shelter, clothing, medical, or other health care; (C) Carry out the activities of daily living; or (D) Manage his or her resources."  An adult with a guardian or conservator, therefore, presumptively would be within our mandated reporter duties. Also, the law doesn't differentiate between a temporary or permanent impairment.

If you think a disabled adult is being mistreated, this statue requires a report to both the state Division of Aging Services (information here) and the appropriate law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney. The agency where the victim lives, the maltreatment occurred, or your organization is located all would be appropriate avenues for you to pursue.

Chronological age is a dividing line for many responsibilities. Our mandated reporting responsibilities, however, do not expire for disabled adults. We simply shift to another statute and additional requirements.

The following persons having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult or elder person has been the victim of abuse, other than by accidental means, or has been neglected or exploited shall report or cause reports to be made in accordance with the provisions of this Code section:


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