Pennsylvania criticized for how it handles elder abuse cases

A Pennsylvania state watchdog agency is criticizing how county-level agencies investigate thousands of complaints they receive about elder abuse and how the state ensures complaints are investigated adequately.

Among the shortcomings identified by the Office of State Inspector General were failures to properly investigate complaints under timelines required by state law. A six-page summary of the report says investigative practices aren't standardized across counties and it criticizes training requirements for caseworkers who are fielding a fast-growing number of complaints.

Complaints can involve physical abuse, self-neglect or financial exploitation. The Associated Press in 2017 reviewed hundreds of pages of Department of Aging records and found the performance of county-level agencies varied widely.

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration cleared out the department's top two officials and says it's begun addressing the report's findings.