What is Adult Protective Services?

Adult Protective Services (APS) is a social services program provided by municipalities nationwide serving seniors and adults with disabilities who are in need of assistance. APS workers frequently serve as first responders in cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation, working closely with a wide variety of allied professionals such as physicians, nurses, paramedics, firefighters and law enforcement officers.

NAPSA is pleased to provide you with a series of three briefs regarding APS. These were designed to promote community and professional understanding of APS services, processes, and limitations with the goal of increasing collaboration between APS and others needed to help identify and remedy vulnerable adult mistreatment.  Please feel free to use and reference the briefs for community, professional, and academic teaching and training and other initiatives aimed at reducing victimization of vulnerable adults.

Understanding and Working with Adult Protective Services, A Three-Part Series

How APS Helps

Most seniors and adults with disabilities live independently without assistance, however, some face abuse or neglect by others and need trained professionals to advocate on their behalf. Others may simply be struggling with routine activities and benefit from in-home support services to maintain their health and independence. APS helps by assessing each individual’s unique needs, then developing a service plan to maintain his/her safety, health and independence.

What Happens When a Report is Made?

  1. A concerned citizen contacts his/her local APS office to report concerns about the welfare of a senior or adult with disabilities.
  2. The details provided in the report will be screened by a trained professional to evaluate if it meets the statutory requirements for APS services in the state and/or municipality receiving the report. Here is more information about what may constitute abuseneglect or exploitation.
  3. If the situation meets criteria for abuse, neglect or exploitation, an APS worker will initiate face-to-face contact with the adult needing assistance.
  4. The APS worker will assess the adult’s safety, need for assistance, and determine what services, if any, would be beneficial to maintain his/her well-being and independence. Learn more about the services APS workers offer here.
  5. While APS workers help thousands of vulnerable adults every day, individuals always have the right to decline services. Find out what makes APS unique here.