Audit: Problems in vulnerable adult protections

LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A performance audit released Wednesday reports some of the state’s efforts to investigate referrals of adult abuse cases and evaluate Adult Protective Services activities have not been effective.

Other shortcomings include less-than-prompt investigations by protective services offices and a failure by state Human Services officials to look into all allegations identified in referrals assigned for investigations. Adult Protective Services falls under the control of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

The Michigan Auditor General’s audit looked at 199 closed protective services cases and determined that supervisors failed to review 53 of them, and that reviews of 47 closed cases were 66 days late on average.

Michigan law requires that state agencies develop a plan to comply with audit recommendations and submit it within 60 days of the report’s release. The audit covered protective services activities between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2013.

In its preliminary response, the Human Services department said it would have a comprehensive system of accountability in place by Sept. 1. It also promised a comprehensive adult services strategic plan by Oct. 1.

Adult Protective Services received more than 80,000 referrals of abuse, neglect or exploitation of vulnerable adults during the dates of the audit. As of last September, the office had about 109 full-time staff.

Improvements in how the agency operates already have started, Human Services Director Maura Corrigan said.