NAPSA Adult Protective Services Abuse Registry National Report (March 2018)

Adult Protective Services Abuse Registry Project: A National Baseline Study of APS Abuse Registries

The concept of Adult Protective Service (“APS”) Abuse Registries has long been discussed and debated among APS staff, advocates, and other colleagues throughout the nation. This report presents the findings of a multi-state study, undertaken from January 2016 to February 2018, to identify key features of state adult protective services (“APS”) abuse registries in the United States. The project was completed by a group of National Adult Protective Services Association (“NAPSA”) member volunteers under the auspices of an ad hoc committee of the NAPSA Regional Representatives Advisory Board. The information in this report represents a snapshot of selected information on 21 state APS abuse registries at the time of formal data collection and analysis; i.e., from January to September 2017.

The project focused on state registries that fit the definition:  “a system for maintaining the identity of individuals who are found, only as a result of an APS investigation, to have abused, neglected or exploited seniors or adults (18 and older) with disabilities living in the community or in a facility. The purpose of such a registry is to make this information available to individuals, agencies or employers who are authorized to receive such information.” Information about registries meeting this definition was collected via two online surveys and subsequent telephone interviews with representatives of states, as well as a review of statutory and regulatory materials.

The Committee identified 26 states with APS abuse registries meeting the Committee’s definition. Of those 26 states, 21 contributed information to this project. Information was collected and analyzed on numerous topics dealing with the origin and scope of registries, key organizational characteristics and processes, resources used to operate registries, access to and uses of registry information, and perspectives on lessons learned by states in operating registries. Themes arising from the information collected in this study include but are not limited to:

  • Reducing access of abusers to vulnerable adults and improving hiring practices of providers through the implementation of APS abuse registries;
  • Significant diversity in operations and uses of APS abuse registries;
  • Common components of APS abuse registries include perpetrator notification and the existence of due process provisions;
  • Inadequate resources to operate APS abuse registries;
  • Length of time and administrative challenges of due process and information systems;
  • Tension between APS abuse registry roles in protecting vulnerable adults and punishing abusers; and
  • Dissatisfaction with the scope of offenders included in the APS abuse registry.

The report presents several recommendations for consideration by NAPSA and states that operate, or are considering operating, APS abuse registries.  The recommendations include the following feedback from state respondents:

  • APS abuse registries must be adequately funded in accordance with the mission, structure, and goals of the registry;
  • APS abuse registries must provide for dedicated staff; and
  • States with APS abuse registries should identify a way to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of having a registry.