Senator Jane Nelson
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
Fax (512) 463-0923

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2004
Contact: Dave Nelson
(817) 424-3446

SENATOR NELSON: REVIEW OF PROTECTIVE SERVICES NEEDED

AUSTIN -- Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, today offered her support for the executive order issued by Governor Rick Perry to initiate an immediate review of the state's adult protective services in the wake of an alarming report on the safety of seniors and individuals with disabilities.

"Our most vulnerable citizens are our children and our elderly, and we have a responsibility to protect them. We need to immediately remove from harm's way those individuals whose health may be in jeopardy and find out what we can do in the future to prevent abuse or neglect," Senator Nelson, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services, said.

As part of the executive order, Governor Perry directed Health and Human Services Commissioner Albert Hawkins to begin a review of abuse cases to determine whether a disturbing report issued by El Paso County Probate Court Judge Max Higgs detailing safety threats in El Paso were isolated or part of a larger problem. A special strike force has been dispatched to El Paso to investigate cases in that area.

Senator Nelson, who also serves as co-chair of the Health and Human Services Reorganization Oversight Committee, has offered to work with Commissioner Hawkins, Governor Perry, caregivers, patient advocates and the medical community during the interim period on this issue.

"The agency should have the tools it needs to address this issue, but as always it is important for us to determine whether any legislative changes are necessary to better protect our most vulnerable citizens," she said.

Senator Nelson represents Senate District 12, which includes parts of Tarrant and Denton counties.

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