The Vermont Statutes Online
Title 33 : Human Services
Chapter 069 : REPORTS OF ABUSE, NEGLECT, AND EXPLOITATION OF VULNERABLE ADULTS
Subchapter 001 : REPORTS OF ABUSE OF VULNERABLE ADULTS(Cite as: 33 V.S.A. § 6906)
§ 6906. Investigation
(a)(1) The Commissioner shall cause an investigation to commence within 48 hours after receipt of a report made pursuant to section 6904 of this title.
(2) The Commissioner shall keep the reporter and the alleged victim informed during all stages of the investigation, and shall:
(A) Notify the reporter, the victim, and the victim’s legal representative, if any, in writing if Adult Protective Services or the Division of Licensing and Protection decides not to investigate the report. The notification shall be provided within five business days after the decision is made and shall inform the reporter that he or she may ask the Commissioner to review the decision.
(B) Notify the reporter, the victim, and the victim’s legal representative, if any, in writing if Adult Protective Services or the Division of Licensing and Protection refers the report to another agency. The notification shall be provided within five business days after the referral is made.
(C) Notify the reporter, the victim, and the victim’s legal representative, if any, in writing of the outcome of the investigation. The notification shall be provided within five business days after the decision is made and shall inform the reporter that he or she may ask the Commissioner to review the decision.
(b) The investigation shall include, except where inclusion would jeopardize the health, welfare, or safety of the vulnerable adult:
(1) a visit to the reported victim’s place of residence or place of custody and to the location of the reported abuse, neglect, or exploitation;
(2) interviews with any available witnesses to the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation;
(3) an interview with the reporter of the alleged abuse, neglect, or exploitation;
(4) an interview with the reported victim, which interview may take place without the approval of the vulnerable adult’s parents, guardian, or caregiver, but cannot take place over the objection of the reported victim; and
(5) an opportunity for the person who allegedly abused, neglected, or exploited to be interviewed.
(c) Upon completion of the investigation, a written report describing all evidence obtained and recommending a finding of substantiated or unsubstantiated shall be submitted to the Commissioner or designee for final resolution. If the recommendation is for a finding of substantiated the person shall be given notice of the recommendation, and the evidence that forms the basis of the recommendation, and shall be notified of how a substantiated report might be used. The person shall be offered an opportunity to dispute the recommendation and may, within 15 days of notification, request an administrative hearing in front of the Commissioner or designee. Following the hearing, or if no hearing is requested within 15 days of notification, the Commissioner or designee shall make a finding of substantiated or unsubstantiated, and notify the person of the decision and of the right to appeal.
(d) Within 30 days of notification that a report has been substantiated, a person against whom a complaint has been lodged may apply to the Human Services Board for relief on the grounds that it is unsubstantiated. The Board shall hold a fair hearing under 3 V.S.A. § 3091. Unless the Commissioner agrees otherwise, the fair hearing shall be given priority by the Board and an expedited hearing shall be provided, with a decision issued promptly thereafter.
(e) If a report is found to be unsubstantiated, the records shall be retained as part of the confidential records of the Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living. If no court proceeding is brought pursuant to subdivision 6903(c)(3) of this title within six years of the date of the notice to the person against whom the complaint was lodged, the records relating to the unsubstantiated report shall be destroyed after notice to such person, unless he or she requests that the records not be destroyed.
(f) If an appeal is filed pursuant to subsection (d) of this section or to a court, the name of the individual shall not be added to the Registry until a substantiated finding of abuse, neglect, or exploitation becomes final.
(g) If the Human Services Board or a court reverses a substantiated finding, the Commissioner shall remove all information relating to that finding in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.
(h) When a final determination has been made, the Commissioner shall inform the vulnerable adult or his or her representative, the reporter, and, if the report is substantiated, the current employer of the individual, of the outcome of the investigation and any subsequent proceedings. (Added 1979, No. 150 (Adj. Sess.); amended 1983, No. 203 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1985, No. 78, § 6; 1993, No. 100, § 4; 2001, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 5, 17, eff. June 13, 2002; 2005, No. 79, § 6; 2005, No. 174 (Adj. Sess.), § 131.)