HARLEM, Ga. (WJBF)– After several arrests last year for unlicensed and illegal personal care homes, some resulting in death, a local group is approaching the state for change.
NewsChannel 6’s Samantha Williams has been following these cases: In July of 2017, investigators shut down Dynasty personal care home after a man was found dead.
Another personal care home owner sits in jail, still, after facing 26 charges, and come 2018, that group you mentioned is demanding change… and taking it to Governor Nathan Deal.
“These are the people who are really falling through the cracks,” Angela Lokey, who has owned a personal care home for more than a decade, told NewsChannel 6.
A state-wide group is taking recent personal care home injustices to Georgia legislature. Many of 2017’s personal care home arrests stem from not having a license, but according to Kathy Floyd, Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Aging, even some of the legal personal care homes need more regulation. She is sitting in on this year’s legislative sessions, advocating for the elderly.
“This proposal would require finger printing, which, as you can imagine, would be a much more thorough background check,” Floyd explained.
As of now, Georgia personal care home caretakers are only required background checks in the state, but The Georgia Council on Aging wants to change that. The group is also looking to provide the state more options when people break the law– like increasing fines that reflect how many people are housed in a home.
Lokey disagreed with that proposal.: “If you are neglecting, exploiting, whatever it is you are doing, abusing whether it be one, whether it be twelve, you need to be held accountable for the same fine,” She said.
Lokey praised the work the newly formed Augusta task force, C.A.V.E., is doing. She told me that the council needs to focus more on where people are making money. She said many care-home owners operate strictly as a business– taking the elderly in, just to deposit their social security check and become their “payee.”
Lokey wishes Georgia officials would buckle down on the process in which people become responsible for others’ state monies.
“And they know if they don’t have a payee, their check is going to be cut off. They are desperate. Nine times out of ten, they are desperate for a shelter,” Lokey said.
The Georgia Council on Aging is also pushing to hold every county in Georgia responsible: Making it law to have a task force like CAVE, comprised of the Richmond County District Attorney Office, Sheriff’s and Marshal’s Office, along with the coroner and state agencies in every jurisdiction.