Virginia Gets Common Entry Point for Vulnerable Adults

By KBJR News 1

January 24, 2012 Updated Jan 24, 2012 at 11:26 PM CDT

VIRGINIA, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---Under Minnesota law, each county must designate a common entry point for people to report suspected cases of maltreatment of vulnerable adults.

To ensure vulnerable adults get the protection and safety the need, St. Louis County has designated a second common entry point in Virginia for people to report abuse.

Vulnerable adults rely on others for daily assistance.

Because they have an impaired ability to provide for themselves, they face a higher risk of being harmed.

Staff at a common entry point office receive all reports of suspected mistreatment and work with appropriate authorities to solve any issues.

"When you look at the citizenry of the Quad Cities, of Hibbing, of Ely, it's important that they not have to drive two hours to seek out those services," St. Louis County Commissioner Keith Nelson of Virginia said.

Since 1995, all reports have been handled through an office in Duluth.

If necessary, staff would then relay information to Health and Human Safety Services in northern St. Louis County for appropriate response and follow up.

Having an additional office on the Iron Range will help staff resolve issues faster and enhance services for the most vulnerable residents in northern St. Louis County.

"It just brings it more local," Deputy Director, Shelley Saukko said. "It allows folks who are right there up in Virginia who may know their clients or know the community to be able to respond immediately rather than waiting for a referral from Duluth."

The common entry point will begin servicing northern St. Louis County within the next month.

County health workers stress that mistreatment can happen anywhere, even in a a person's home or day program.

Abusers can be spouses, children, hired care providers or friends.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch
jwalch@northlandsnewscenter.com