Adult Protective Services Tips

Before Calling Adult Protective Services (APS)

Assess the situation

If you have information that a disabled adult (physical or mental disability) is being abused, neglected (including self-neglect), or exploited, call the APS phone number for the patient’s county of residence.
***NOTE: The person with direct information is the best person to report to APS.

Forms of abuse that constitute the need to report:

  • Abuse – Willful infliction of physical pain, injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement or willful deprivation by caretaker of services that are necessary to maintain mental/physical health.
  • Caretaker Neglect – Failure of the caregiver to provide services to maintain the physical and mental health of the disabled adult.
  • Self-Neglect – Disabled adult who lives alone or has no caregiver and is not able to provide necessary services to maintain his/her mental and physical health.
  • Exploitation – Illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or elderly person of his/her assets for another’s profit or advantage.

Calling APS

Find number and call

Use the North Carolina County Department of Social Services Directory to find the APS phone number for the patient’s county of residence.

  • Call within 24 hours, if possible.
  • If you feel that the adult is in imminent danger, call 911.

An APS Intake Worker will ask screening questions to determine if the report constitutes opening a case.

  • Provide objective and specific details
  • If the lines are busy, either leave a message or call back.

APS Intake Worker will request the following:

  1. People Involved: detailed information about everyone involved in the incident:
    • The person you suspect is being abused (alleged victims).
    • The person you suspect is responsible for the abuse (alleged perpetrators).
    • Others living in the home and anyone else who can provide information.
  2. What Happened: detailed information on the specific concerns and reasons you have forreporting the incident.
  3. Safety Concerns: detailed information regarding domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, living conditions and other safety concerns. Share any concerns about weapons, gang involvement, or if there are people, pets, or conditions that could be a danger.

***NOTE: By calling APS, you are not the one deciding the fate of the patient. You are fulfilling your role as a Mandated Reporter by ensuring the patient’s needs are met in a safe way.***

After Calling APS

  • If an APS report meets the criteria above and is accepted for an evaluation, the APS worker has up to 72 hours to initiate the evaluation depending on the urgency of the situation.
  • A social worker will be assigned. They have up to 30 days to complete the evaluation of cases of abuse or neglect and 45 days for cases of exploitation.
    ***NOTE: DHHS Services cannot be provided to the adult while the evaluation is in process.
  • If the APS worker substantiates or agrees that the adult is disabled, and is being abused, neglected and/or exploited and in need of protective services they can mobilize services such as home health care, petition for guardianship and assist with long term care placement.
  • You can always call the APS worker to receive a status update.
  • You may notify the patient that a report has been filed and what to expect moving forward. ☐ Document interactions in your electronic health record.
  • You may contact a WKCC LCSW for support. Call 919-235-6488 to be connected.
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