Those providing in-home care to seniors and other vulnerable adults have had a year to get licensed. That grace period ends March 1, and those without licenses face a $500 fine and up to two months in jail, according to Palm Beach County’s Consumer Affairs Division.
The Palm Beach County Commission voted in October 2015 to require caregivers who hadn’t already done so to submit fingerprints and undergo a national criminal background check. Commissioners said their goal was to make it harder for seniors and physically or mentally disabled adults to be abused by those purporting to care for them.
Those who have committed a serious criminal offense such as fraud, elder abuse or exploitation, homicide, burglary or theft will be ineligible for the license, which must be renewed every five years.
Home-care agencies that already require employees to undergo fingerprinting and a background check must provide the county with an affidavit attesting to that fact. In those instances, the employee would still be required to be photographed and obtain a physical license, which is expected to cost $20.
Others working independently must undergo the background check, fingerprinting and photographing at a cost of about $75.
William J. Ely, a 105-year old Delray Beach resident, said there are three reasons he has lived so long: good luck, good genes, and the love and caring of his wife, Helen, to whom he was married for 70 years before her death in 2014.
Ely, believed to be the oldest living graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, was honored by the Palm Beach County Commission on Tuesday.
Commissioner Steve Abrams, whose district includes Delray Beach, presented Ely with a proclamation honoring his 33 years of service in the Army, including service in the Pacific during World War II.
Ely earned an Army Distinguished Service Medal, a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and two Legions of Merit.
After receiving his proclamation, those attending the commission meeting gave Ely a sustained standing ovation.
The course helps caregivers to take care of themselves, which helps them better care for their relative or friend. They’ll learn how to reduce stress, improve self-confidence, communicate feelings better, balance their lives, and increase their ability to make tough decisions and find helpful resources.
Starting next Monday, April 4, those providing in-home care to seniors and other vulnerable adults in Palm Beach County will need to undergo a licensing procedure that includes a criminal-background check and fingerprinting.
Palm Beach County commissioners, hoping to make it harder for seniors and physically or mentally disabled adults to be abused by those purporting to care for them, voted in the new rules in October.
Instituting the new rules had to wait until the commission inked a deal with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct the background checks. In March, commissioners set fines and penalties.
Those needing a license would contact the Consumer Affairs Division of the county’s Public Safety Department.