Senior Services Firm Fined for Failing to Screen Caregivers

A Bay Area company that provides in-home care has paid $100,000 in civil penalties after being caught placing unscreened caregivers, some of them with criminal records, into the homes of the elderly and disabled.

The penalty was the result of a District Attorney’s Office consumer protection lawsuit, the first of its kind filed in Santa Clara County. The investigation was launched after an aide placed by Serving Seniors.Care stole thousands of dollars from an elderly Palo Alto man he had been hired to help.

The civil complaint alleged that the company, based in Daly City, did not obtain required clearances for dozens of home care aides before they were placed with elderly and disabled clients.

At the same time, the company allegedly made false statements on its website and in its client agreements that its aides were properly screened.

“Families trust home care organizations to follow the law when they hire employees,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen said. “Placing strangers into homes without a background check or screening puts elderly and disabled citizens in harm’s way.”

Home care aides assist elderly and disabled adults with activities of daily living, such as bathing, eating, and dressing. State law requires licensed home care organizations to make sure that aides are cleared on the home care aide registry of the California Department of Social Services before the aides are placed in a client’s home. Clearance requires fingerprinting and a criminal history check.

By law, those convicted of any crime are barred from serving as home aides. In addition to the case in Palo Alto, which remains pending, the investigation showed a different aide stole thousands of dollars from a client in another county.

The court ordered the company and its owner to pay the penalty for unfair competition and false advertising.  In addition, the court ordered them to comply with the Home Care Services Protection Act and to maintain personnel records related to all clearances and placements.

The DA’s investigation into Serving Seniors.Care was conducted with the assistance of the Home Care Services Branch of the CDSS. The defendant is not affiliated with the nonprofit organization Serving Seniors, which is based in San Diego.

When using a licensed home care organization, ask for the first and last name of the home care aide, as well as the aide’s personnel ID number (also known as PER ID or HCA ID).  With that information, consumers can verify the aide’s status through the Home Care Aide Registry on the CDSS website.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *