Caregiver Permits Required in Napa County

Elder abuse, which is so unfortunate, continues to happen, especially by family caregivers.  Elder abuse stories permeate the news.  Recently, Joseph McCoy, 30, and Darlene Green, 54, both pleaded no contest to felony elder abuse of their grandmother and mother, respectively, in Bakersfield, California. The case was one of the worst that healthcare professionals had ever seen, according to court records.

In an effort to stem senior abuse, Napa County California began enforcing a new law requiring all home caregivers to register for a permit if they receive free room and board or any other form of compensation for caregiving. This includes family caregivers. Permits are issued after caregivers undergo background checks through the Napa County Area Agency on Aging’s website.

According to the county, for a private caregiver, the background check fee is $90 for the first year, $79 for the second year and $67 for the following year. The annual permit, issued by the Napa County clerk/recorder, costs $20 per year. In six months, Napa county has issued permits to nearly 200 caregivers.

Caregiver agencies must also submit names for background checks and purchase permits for their home caregivers. State-licensed registered nurses and certified nursing assistants are exempt from required permits.

Caregiverlist has always championed background checks for home health care workers with its Criminal Super Search with Social Security Number Match at a cost of $18 and same-day turnaround. But while this is a recommended check, most states do not require this vetting.

Will other states follow Napa County’s lead? You can keep up with the latest recommendations by checking your state’s Area Agency on Aging.

What do you think? Is the permit program launched in Napa California a good idea to help prevent elder care abuse, or do you feel it is one more bureaucratic intrusion and a way to collect fees from caregivers, especially those caring for family members?

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Comments (4) -

  • Medicaid Eligibility NJ

    1/18/2012 3:50:07 AM | Reply


    Caregiving involves numerous stressors, such as changes in family dynamics, financial pressure, household disruption, adjustments in schedule, and exhausting work. There is no doubt that taking care of the elderly is a worthy and admirable pursuit, yet being a caregiver is far from easy. Caregivers face a mixed bag of emotions, such as love, loss, anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration, guilt, and fear – often on a daily basis. It’s common for caregivers to feel isolated and alone, feeling as if they are carrying this heavy burden all by themselves.

  • Emma

    1/18/2012 2:41:13 PM | Reply

    Wait...the federal government wants to make sure we get minimum wage and overtime, but then wants to bleed us with mandatory fees? And why does the county's background check cost so much more than Caregiverlist's? If we supply our own background check (like if I bought one through this site), will the county accept that and issue me a permit? If anyone has answers, I'd love to hear them!

  • CaliforniaCaregiver

    1/19/2012 1:11:43 PM | Reply

    How much is the fine if you don't comply?

  • Fighting Elder Abuse in San Mate

    1/23/2012 7:52:49 PM | Reply

    Absolutely anyone serving as a caregiver for an elder or dependent adult should have a background check AND follow-up by the agency, public or private, that grants caregiver authorization. I am fighting in court right now against a paid caregiver who was paid by a county agency with state funds and still not a single county or state official will step in.  A permit may help but FOLLOW UP is key to make sure that caregiver is behaving properly.  

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