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Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

APS social workers assess reported cases to determine the services most appropriate to help eligible victims. These services can include:

  • Home health-aid
  • Resources for food
  • Medical assistance
  • Legal services
  • Utility payment assistance

APS may be managed at the state, county, or local level. The ability of APS to investigate different types of elder abuse, including financial, varies by location and the laws of each state.

How they can contribute to working groups

Case review and resolution

  • If an APS investigator believes a crime has been committed, they can cross-report suspected cases of elder abuse, including financial exploitation, to law enforcement for further investigation and prosecution.
  • APS may present cases to a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of experts sometimes known as a Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) or other confidential case review team.

Community education and outreach

  • APS social workers can educate community members on how to recognize and report elder financial exploitation
  • Some APS agencies offer training for law enforcement and financial institution personnel
  • At community events, APS can clarify the agency’s mission to support the safety and independence of older people

Legal action

Some APS agencies can help elderly victims stop financial exploitation by:

  • Helping victims contact family members who can help the older person remain safe and independent, and finding a responsible person or agency to manage the victim's money
  • Helping older adults close or remove signers from financial accounts at risk of exploitation
  • Referring older adults to resources, such as legal assistance to revoke Powers of Attorney, evict an abuser from their home, or file protective orders
  • Referring older adults to conservatorship resources

Local or regional protocols and response

APS officials can help the network develop regional protocols for prevention of and response to elder financial exploitation.

Cross-training

APS representatives can train network members on:

  • How to recognize elder financial exploitation by providing case examples
  • APS protocol for reporting
  • APS abilities and limitations

Potential challenges

APS staff may face multiple challenges to contributing to the network, such as:

  • Being unable to attend all network meetings or respond immediately to requests
  • Being overwhelmed with a high volume of cases and limited resources or training on elder financial exploitation
  • Having challenges concerning client confidentiality and collaboration on case review teams with interdisciplinary stakeholders

Additionally, victims of abuse reported to or identified by APS may:

  • Be ineligible for services due to service disqualification guidelines in state laws
  • Refuse to provide consent to receive services
  • Refuse services due to fear of dependence, abuser retaliation, or other retaliation

Types of contacts to include in your network

  • Field supervisors
  • Managing social workers
  • Program managers
  • Regional program administrators
  • Training coordinators
  • Victim services supervisors
  • Deputy Public Guardians/Conservators

Find APS offices in your area