Before El Dorado County leaps into a caretaker permit program it should stop and think it over. The key takeaway from the discussion before the Board of Supervisors July 17 came from the public guardian, Jan Walker-Conroy, who said 75 percent of the elder abuse cases involve family members.
Making family members get permits and spend $90 for a sheriff’s background check are not even in the realm of reality. We have to believe Supervisor John Knight was joking when he said he wanted his children licensed when he gets to be really old. Government has no business interfering in family business. If a family member is abusing an elder family member, there are laws for that and our tax money is funding several different local agencies to handle those situations.
There are some folks who quit their jobs to care for an elder parent at home. The sacrifice many make needs to be respected.
If licensing caregivers and running background checks on them makes for less work by various county agencies as they asserted July 17, then we want to see the plan for cutting excess county positions in these agencies.
Supervisor Ron Briggs claims this program will give law enforcement the ability to immediately remove someone who they suspect is in danger instead of having to go before a judge. Here we have to disagree. Especially with a family member county officials should have to convince a judge and the person in question should have an opportunity to defend him or herself before a judge. Cutting the judge out of the process turns it into a police state ordinance.
Is the ordinance aimed at caretakers who stay overnight? Is it aimed at those who merely do housekeeping? Is it aimed at those who are there during daytime hours? Is it aimed at those who help out two hours or less per day? Is it aimed at those who help out a few hours a week? This permitting plan needs to be thought over more thoroughly.