LANSING, Mich. – Today, the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging strengthened operating policies for Michigan’s 16 area agencies on aging to help protect the safety of older adults served by state-funded programs.

“We have a duty to protect older and vulnerable adults served by aging network programs and services,” said Dr. Alexis Travis, senior deputy director of the Aging and Adult Services Agency (AASA) at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “We are happy the commission took this important step to set consistent standards across the 16 Area Agency on Aging regions and for all service programs offered through our agency.”

The commission standardized guidelines on how various criminal convictions should be handled so there is consistency for all sub-agencies throughout the state. While background checks for volunteers and staff have always been required, the types of allowable exceptions and frequency of repeat checks varied.

Changes to requirements include:

  • All programs are required to update criminal background checks for all employees and volunteers every three years to identify convictions in the event they occur while an individual is employed or providing volunteer service.
  • All employees and volunteers hired prior to the effective date of the policy must be re-screened within 90 days from the effective date. Thereafter, criminal background checks for these employees and volunteers must be completed no later than 30 days after every third anniversary from the date of their last background check.
  • Updated criminal background checks for employees and volunteers hired after the effective date of the policy must be completed no later than 30 days after every third anniversary of their date of hire.

“This operating standard regarding criminal background checks approved today is purposeful,” said Dona Wishart, chair of the Commission on Services to the Aging. “Its focus and intent are the safety and protection of older adults receiving services through the network of services for the aging. It will strengthen our ability to prevent harm and protect our most vulnerable population.” 

The approved operations standards are available for review on AASA’s website.  

AASA manages approximately $110 million in non-Medicaid federal and state funding for home and community-based programs to serve Michigan’s older and vulnerable adults through the aging network. The aging network is comprised of a partnership between AASA, the 16 regional area agencies on aging and more than 1,000 local service providers.

The Commission on Services to the Aging (CSA) advises the Governor, Michigan Legislature, and AASA on matters relating to policies and programs for older adults in Michigan. CSA, a 15-member body appointed by the Governor, also reviews and approves grants received by AASA and participates in the development of the state plan and budget as required by the federal Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended. Meetings are held monthly and open to the public.