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Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services (APS) are those services provided to ensure the safety and well-being of elders and adults with disabilities who are in danger of being mistreated or neglected, are unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm, and have no one to assist them.

Interventions provided by Adult Protective Services include, but are not limited to, receiving reports of adult abuse, exploitation or neglect, investigating these reports, case planning, monitoring and evaluation. In addition to casework services, Adult Protection may provide or arrange for the provision of medical, social, economic, legal, housing, law enforcement or other protective, emergency or supportive services.

In most states, APS caseworkers are the first responders to reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older adults.

A vulnerable adult is defined as a person who is being mistreated or is in danger of mistreatment and who, due to age and/or disability, is unable to protect himself or herself.

Most APS programs serve both older and younger adults. In some states, APS is responsible only for cases involving older adults (eligibility may be based on age, incapacity of the adult). A few APS programs serve only younger adults ages 18-59.

APS Interventions

  • Receiving reports of elder abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation
  • Investigating these reports
  • Assessing victim's risk
  • Assessing victim's capacity to understand his/her risk and ability to give informed consent
  • Developing case plan
  • Arranging for emergency shelter, medical care, legal assistance, and supportive services
  • Service monitoring
  • Evaluation
  • National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) APS Example Flow Chart (PDF), an illustration of the APS investigation process

Additional Information About APS

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