Help! Why is Elder Age Listed as 65+ in TDC Test Prep? Isn’t it 60 Years and Above?

By Maria Denardo on March 27, 2024

Elder age continues to elicit questions among testers preparing for the LCSW and MFT CA Law and Ethics Exams. The source of the confusion began with AB 135, a California law that went into effect in January 2022. This law amended Chapter 13 of the Welfare and Institutions Code to state that an elder adult is defined as anyone 60 years of age and older. This allows APS staff to accept reports and conduct investigations of elder abuse and neglect for people 60 years and older. The intent of the law was to align with the age eligibility for the Older Americans Act programs, which serve populations that are 60 years and above, and to allow access to preventative and remedial services, like Meals on Wheels, at an earlier age.

Help! Why is Elder Age Listed as 65+ in TDC Test Prep? Isn’t it 60 Years and Above?

However, AB 135 maintains the existing definition of an elder adult under the Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act (Chapter 11) as anyone 65 years of age and older. So, how does this impact mandated reporters? In short, it doesn’t. The law has not changed with respect to mandated reporters’ legal obligation. Therapists may report cases of abuse and neglect for people 60-64 but are not legally mandated to do so.

Due to the confusion, the Office of Professional Exam Services (OPES), which is the administrator of the CA licensing exams, has informed the BBS that no items on their exams would be marked incorrectly if test candidates answered using the 60 years and older age limit for elder adults.

But, until further notice, counselors taking the MFT and LCSW CA Law & Ethics Exams should rely on the age range of dependents as those between 18-64 years of age and elders as 65 and older for the purpose of mandated reporting.

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