Apr 2, 2019

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

Feb 5, 2018
*NEW* Child Care Change Report form now available on our website.
Oct 13, 2017
The Family and Individual Services Unit has been renamed Public Assistance in order to be more aligned with the services provided to the public
Aug 21, 2017

Kenynia Howard was indicted by a Sandusky County Grand Jury and pled guilty to theft and Medicaid eligibility fraud.           

Jul 22, 2015

The Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services along with the eight counties listed below implemented a call center know as COLLABOR8. These nine (9) JFS Departments share a telephone and imaging system between counties to service public assistance consumers.

Nov 7, 2012
Child Support Web Portal Now Available




Who abuses the elderly?
People often hear about elderly abuse in institutions, but only a small percent of elderly live in institutions. Most elderly persons live independently. This may be alone, with a spouse, or with relatives.

Most families don't abandon, abuse, neglect, or take advantage of their elderly relatives. But studies do point to the family as the single greatest source of elder abuse.

Daughters, sons, grandchildren, or other relatives may be abusers. Physical abusers are usually male.

Psychological abusers are usually 50 or older. These relatives may have been looking forward to a time of personal freedom. They instead find themselves supplying almost constant personal and medical care to an elderly relative.

In many of the families where abuse happens, conflicts have existed for years. There may be a pattern of violence in the family. The parent may have treated the child badly earlier in life. These problems come to a head when family members move into the same home.

Why does abuse of the elderly happen?
Violence in the family has more than one cause. However, a major cause is being unable to handle stress. The relative who takes care of an elderly person may have several sources of stress, such as:

  financial problems
  unhappiness with a job
  being forced to give up a job to take care of an elderly parent or relative
  shouldering the care and costs of an elderly person at an age when the caretaker needs to plan for his or her own retirement

Stress often leads caretakers to misuse alcohol or drugs. Misuse of alcohol is often a cause of family violence. Drinking can lower a person's self-control and increase the chance of aggressive and violent behavior.

Caretakers are often torn between love and hate, between a sense of duty and a wish to be free from responsibility. They may feel guilty for not welcoming elderly relatives into their home with open arms.

Old conflicts become worse. Caretakers may complain that elderly persons don't:

  respect family needs for privacy
  consider family opinions
  recognize caretakers as adults


As elderly persons become more dependent on caretakers, the chance of abuse increases. This abuse may be physical, emotional, or financial. It can include neglect or exploitation.

Poor health can accompany aging and places increasing burdens on the family. Many elderly can't walk without the aid of another person or a walker. Some may need a wheelchair. Many need almost constant care and supervision and can't be left alone. The family and the caretaker begin to resent the restrictions placed on its time.

Some age-related diseases, and some medicines may change personality. These changes can make the elderly person hard to care for. Some elderly may:

  try to control the family and the caretaker
  be demanding
  cry or scream
  refuse food
  refuse to take medicine
  throw objects
  hit or slap

How are the elderly being abused?
Much has been written about abuse of the elderly by strangers. However, there is a higher chance that family members will:

  give improper or little care to the elderly
  neglect them or keep them in isolation
  deny proper food or medical care
  verbally abuse them
  threaten them with nursing home placement
  physically restrain them
  hit or beat them
  misuse their money or property
  wish for their death to preserve an inheritance that will otherwise need to be spent on their care


Do the abused elderly tell anyone?
The abused elderly often are not willing to tell anyone about their situation. They may resign themselves to the abuse due to:

  love for the abuser
  a belief that living in an institution is the only choice

At times they do seek help. They may try to tell someone, but not be believed. Or they may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from understanding or clearly explaining what is happening to them.

Does anyone else usually know?
Other relatives, friends, or neighbors may suspect what is happening. Some may know what is happening. But they may be afraid to become involved. Or they may not know how to report the problem.

Do some elderly abuse or neglect themselves?
Ohio statistics show more than half of all reports of elder abuse involve elderly who abuse or neglect themselves. This often happens among elderly who live alone.

The elderly person may:

  live on an improper diet
  refuse or be unable to eat
  refuse to seek medical care
  refuse or be unable to follow the orders of doctors
  misuse alcohol or medicines
  wish to die, consciously or subconsciously

Elderly persons may keep living alone though it places them at risk. They may refuse or be unable to move to the home of a child or relative or to a nursing home. This presents a problem for family and friends. It is hard to decide where the rights of the elderly to choose their own life-styles end and the responsibility of family, friends, or community begins. Although adult children are not currently legally responsible for their parents, most feel they are morally.

What happens after a report is made?
The agency will determine whether or not to investigate the report. If it is investigated, initiation will begin within 24 hours of being determined an emergency or within three working days if it is a non-emergency. When the investigation is completed, the agency will decide whether or not the elderly person needs ongoing protective services.

What are protective services?
These are services offered to the adult who is determined to have more serious ongoing needs that cannot be resolved during the investigation period. Depending on the elderly person's individual needs, they may include such things as:

  counseling and casework services
  medical care
  mental health services
  home health care
  homemaker services
  help with food, clothing, or shelter
  money management
  housing-related services
  guardianship services
  placement services
  legal services

The adult protection worker will try to choose the services that will improve the situation while giving the elderly person the most freedom possible. Putting the elderly person in an institution will only occur if no other service can remedy the situation.

Does the agency have authority to force an elderly person into an institution?
No. The agency must petition the probate court to get an order placing an elderly person into an institution. Again, this is used as a last resort when all else has failed.

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