At Risk Adults — C.R.S. 26-3.1-101 et seq.

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Index

Current law

26-3.1-101 - Definitions.

26-3.1-102 - Reporting requirements.

26-3.1-103 - Investigations.

26-3.1-104 - Provision of protective services for at-risk adults - consent - nonconsent - least restrictive intervention.

26-3.1-105 - Rules and regulations.

26-3.1-106 - Limitation.


 

Current law (November, 2002)

26-3.1-101 - Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "At-risk adult" means an individual eighteen years of age or older who is susceptible to mistreatment as such term is defined in subsection (4) of this section or self-neglect as such term is defined in subsection (7) of this section because the individual is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for the individual's health, safety, or welfare or lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the individual's person or affairs.

(2) "Caretaker" means a person, as such term is defined in subsection (5) of this section, who is responsible for the care of an at-risk adult, as such term is defined in subsection (1) of this section, as a result of a family or legal relationship or who has assumed responsibility for the care of an at-risk adult.

(3) "Least restrictive intervention" means acquiring or providing services, including protective services, for the shortest duration and to the minimum extent necessary to remedy or prevent situations of actual mistreatment or self-neglect.

(4) "Mistreatment" means an act or omission which threatens the health, safety, or welfare of an at-risk adult, as such term is defined in subsection (1) of this section, or which exposes the adult to a situation or condition that poses an imminent risk of death, serious bodily injury, or bodily injury to the adult. "Mistreatment" includes, but is not limited to:

(a) Abuse which occurs:

(I) Where there is infliction of physical pain or injury, as demonstrated by, but not limited to, substantial or multiple skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, bone fractures, poisoning, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or suffocation;

(II) Where unreasonable confinement or restraint is imposed; or

(III) Where there is subjection to nonconsensual sexual conduct or contact classified as a crime under the "Colorado Criminal Code", title 18, C.R.S.;

(b) Caretaker neglect which occurs when adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, or supervision is not secured for the at-risk adult or is not provided by a caretaker in a timely manner and with the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would exercise; except that the withholding of artificial nourishment in accordance with the "Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act", article 18 of title 15, C.R.S., shall not be considered as abuse;

(c) Exploitation which is the illegal or improper use of an at-risk adult for another person's advantage.

(5) "Person" means one or more individuals, limited liability companies, partnerships, associations, corporations, legal representatives, trustees, receivers, or the state of Colorado, and all political subdivisions and agencies thereof.

(6) "Protective services" means services provided by the state or political subdivisions or agencies thereof in order to prevent the mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult. Such services include, but are not limited to: Receiving and investigating reports of mistreatment or self-neglect, the provision of casework and counseling services, arranging for coordinating, delivering where appropriate, and monitoring services, including medical care for physical or mental health needs, protection from mistreatment, and assistance with application for public benefits, referral to community service providers, and initiation of probate proceedings.

(7) "Self-neglect" means an act or failure to act whereby an at-risk adult substantially endangers the adult's health, safety, welfare, or life by not seeking or obtaining services necessary to meet the adult's essential human needs. Choice of lifestyle or living arrangements shall not, by itself, be evidence of self-neglect.

 

Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1772, § 1, effective July 1. L. 2000: (4)(c) amended, p. 1155, § 2, effective January 1, 2001. Editor's note: Section 3 of chapter 258, Session Laws of Colorado 2000, provides that the act amending subsection (4)(c) applies to offenses committed on or after January 1, 2001. The act was passed without a safety clause. For further explanation concerning the effective date, see page vii of this volume.

Law reviews. For article, "Legislative Update", see 12 Colo. Law. 1251 (1983). For article, "Financial Abuse of Elderly Adults", see 23 Colo. Law. 1077 (1994).

Applied in Goldman v. Krane, 786 P.2d 437 (Colo. App. 1989).


 

26-3.1-102 - Reporting requirements.

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(1) (a) An immediate oral report of abuse should be made or caused to be made within twenty-four hours to the county department or during non-business hours to a local law enforcement agency responsible for investigating violations of state criminal laws protecting at-risk adults by any person specified in paragraph (b) of this subsection (1) who has observed the mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult or who has reasonable cause to believe that an at-risk adult has been mistreated or is self-neglected and is at imminent risk of mistreatment or self-neglect.

(b) The following persons are urged to make or initiate an initial oral report within twenty-four hours followed by a written report within forty-eight hours:

(I) Physicians, surgeons, physicians' assistants, or osteopaths, including physicians in training;

(II) Medical examiners or coroners;

(III) Registered nurses or licensed practical nurses;

(IV) Hospital and nursing home personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients;

(V) Psychologists and other mental health professionals;

(VI) Social work practitioners;

(VII) Dentists;

(VIII) Law enforcement officials and personnel;

(IX) Court-appointed guardians and conservators;

(X) Fire protection personnel;

(XI) Pharmacists;

(XII) Community centered board staff;

(XIII) Personnel of banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other lending or financial institutions;

(XIV) State and local long-term care ombudsmen;

(XV) Any caretaker, staff member, or employee of or volunteer or consultant for any licensed care facility, agency, home, or governing board.

(c) In addition to those persons urged by this subsection (1) to report known or suspected mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult and circumstances or conditions which might reasonably result in mistreatment or self-neglect, any other person may report such known or suspected mistreatment or self-neglect and circumstances or conditions which might reasonably result in mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult to the local law enforcement agency or the county department. Upon receipt of such report, the receiving agency shall prepare a written report within forty-eight hours.

(2) Pursuant to subsection (1) of this section, the report shall include: The name and address of the at-risk adult; the name and address of the at-risk adult's caretaker, if any; the age, if known, of such at-risk adult; the nature and extent of such at-risk adult's injury, if any; the nature and extent of the condition that will reasonably result in mistreatment or self-neglect; and any other pertinent information.

(3) A copy of the report prepared by the county department in accordance with subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall be forwarded within twenty-four hours to the district attorney's office and the local law enforcement agency. A report prepared by the local law enforcement agency shall be forwarded within twenty-four hours to the county department and to the district attorney's office.

(4) No person, including a person specified in subsection (1) of this section, shall knowingly make a false report of mistreatment or self-neglect to a county department or local law enforcement agency.

(5) Any person, except a perpetrator, complicitor, or coconspirator, who makes a report pursuant to this section shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report, testimony, or participation in making such report, so long as such action was taken in good faith and not in reckless disregard of the truth or in violation of subsection (4) of this section.

(6) No person shall take any discriminatory, disciplinary, or retaliatory action against any person who, in good faith, makes a report of suspected mistreatment or neglect of an at-risk adult.

(7) (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection (7), reports of the mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult, including the name and address of any at-risk adult, member of said adult's family, or informant, or any other identifying information contained in such reports, shall be confidential, and shall not be public information.

(b) Disclosure of the name and address of an at-risk adult or member of said adult's family and other identifying information contained in a report shall be permitted only when authorized by a court for good cause. Such disclosure shall not be prohibited when a criminal complaint, information, or indictment based on the report is filed or when there is a death of a suspected at-risk adult from mistreatment or self-neglect and a law enforcement agency files a formal charge or a grand jury issues an indictment in connection with the death.

(c) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection (7) is guilty of a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than three hundred dollars.

 

Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1774, § 1, effective July 1.

Law reviews. For article, "Financial Abuse of Elderly Adults", see 23 Colo. Law. 1077 (1994).


 

26-3.1-103 - Investigations.

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(1) The agency receiving a report of mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult shall make a thorough investigation immediately upon receipt of a report. The immediate concern of the report shall be the protection of the at-risk adult. The investigation shall, at a minimum, include a face-to-face interview of the at-risk adult alleged to be mistreated or self-neglected. The county department shall arrange for its investigation to be conducted by persons trained to conduct such investigations.

(2) It is the general assembly's intent that, in each county of the state, law enforcement agencies, county departments of social services, and any other agencies responsible under federal law or the laws of this state to investigate mistreatment or self-neglect of at-risk adults develop and implement cooperative agreements to coordinate the investigative duties of the agencies and that the focus of such agreements shall be to ensure the best protection for at-risk adults. The agreements shall provide for special requests by one agency for assistance from another agency and for joint investigations.

(3) It is the general assembly's further intent to encourage the creation of an at-risk adult protection team for each county or contiguous group of counties in the state. The purpose of the at-risk adult protection team shall be to review the processes used to investigate mistreatment or self-neglect of at-risk adults, to review the provision of protective services for such adults, to encourage interagency cooperation, and to provide community education on the mistreatment and self-neglect of at-risk adults. The director of each county department is authorized to create and coordinate a protection team for the respective county in accordance with rules adopted by the state board of human services, which rules shall govern the establishment, composition, and duties of the team and shall be consistent with this subsection (3).

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Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1776, § 1, effective July 1. L. 94: (3) amended, p. 2704, § 265, effective July 1.

Editor's note: Subsections (1), (2), and (3) were enacted as subsections (1)(a), (1)(b), and (1)(c), respectively, by Senate Bill 91-84, Session Laws of Colorado 1991, chapter 288, section 1, but have been renumbered on revision for ease of location. Cross references: For the legislative declaration contained in the 1994 act amending this section, see section 1 of chapter 345, Session Laws of Colorado 1994.

Once a mistreatment report is made, a thorough investigation must commence immediately, as opposed to being completed immediately. In addition, once begun, the investigation must proceed as quickly as is reasonable under the circumstances. In re Matter of Stepanek, 924 P.2d 1142 (Colo. App. 1996), aff'd in part and rev' d in part on other grounds, 940 P.2d 364 (Colo. 1997).


 

26-3.1-104 - Provision of protective services for at-risk adults - consent - nonconsent - least restrictive intervention.

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(1) If the county director or such director's designee determines that an at-risk adult is being mistreated or self-neglected, or is at risk thereof, and the at-risk adult consents in writing to protective services, the county director or designee shall immediately provide or arrange for the provision of protective services.

(2) If the county director or designee determines that an at-risk adult is being or has been mistreated or self-neglected, or is at risk thereof, and if the at-risk adult does not consent to the receipt of protective services, the county director is urged, if no other appropriate person is able or willing, to petition the court, pursuant to part 3 of article 14 of title 15, C.R.S., for an order authorizing the provision of specific protective services and for the appointment of a guardian, for an order authorizing the appointment of a conservator pursuant to part 4 of article 14 of title 15, C.R.S., or for a court order providing for any combination of these actions.

(3) Any protective services provided pursuant to this section shall include only those services constituting the least restrictive intervention.

 

Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1777, § 1, effective July 1.

Am. Jur.2d. See 41 Am. Jur.2d, Incompetent Persons, § § 8, 31.

County attorney filing petition for temporary guardianship is immune from liability for attorney fees under § 13-17-102, but may be liable for sanctions under Rule 11, C.R.C.P. Stepanek v. Delta County, 940 P.2d 364 (Colo. 1997).


 

26-3.1-105 - Rules and regulations.

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The state department shall promulgate appropriate rules and regulations for the implementation of this article.

 

Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1777, § 1, effective July 1.


 

26-3.1-106 - Limitation.

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Nothing in this article shall be construed to mean that a person is abused, neglected, exploited, or in need of emergency or protective services for the sole reason that he or she is being furnished or relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of that person's recognized church or religious denomination, nor shall anything in this article be construed to authorize, permit, or require any medical care or treatment in contravention of the stated or implied objection of such a person.

 

Source: L. 91: Entire article R&RE, p. 1777, § 1, effective July 1.

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Last modified 10/5/14