Adult Protective Services (APS)
Each California County has an Adult Protective Services (APS) agency to help elder adults (65 years and older) and dependent adults (18-64 who are disabled), when these adults are unable to meet their own needs, or are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation. County APS agencies investigate reports of abuse of elders and dependent adults who live in private homes, apartments, hotels or hospitals.
There are many types of abuse. Some of the more common types, with examples, are listed below.
Types of Abuse
- Physical: e.g. Hitting, kicking, burning, dragging, over or under medicating
- Sexual Abuse: e.g. Unwanted sexual contact, sexual exploitation, forced viewing of pornography
- Abandonment: e.g. Desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care
- Isolation: e.g. Preventing the individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, visitors
- Financial: e.g. Theft, misuse of funds or property, extortion, duress, fraud
- Neglect: e.g. Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or health care for an individual under one’s care when the means to do so are available.
- Self-neglect: e.g. Failure to provide food, clothing, shelter, or health care for oneself.
- Mental suffering: e.g. Verbal assaults, threats, causing fear.
These are some possible warning signs that abuse might be occurring to an older or disabled adult or that the individual is at increased risk for abuse. If you observe some of these occurring with an older or disabled adult you know, consider alerting County Adult Protective Services.
- Explanation for an injury is inconsistent with its possible cause
- Recent changes in the elder or dependent adult’ s thinking; seems confused or disoriented
- The caregiver is angry, indifferent, or aggressive toward the elder or dependent adult
- Personal belongings, papers, or credit cards are missing
- The elder appears hesitant to talk openly
- Lack of necessities, such as food, water, utilities, medications and medical care
- The caregiver has a history of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence
- Another person's name added to the client's bank account or important documents, or frequent checks made out to cash
When a report of abuse, neglect or exploitation is received, APS’s goal is to create a stable environment where the individual can safely function without requiring on-going intervention from the APS program. Services provided by APS include responding to reports of known or suspected abuse or neglect, conducting an investigation, and arranging for the delivery of services from available community agencies.
APS is not intended to interfere with the life style choices of elders or dependent adults, nor to protect those individuals from the consequences of their choices. For this reason, an elder or dependent adult who has been abused may refuse or withdraw consent at any time to preventive and remedial services offered by an APS agency.
However, APS is required to conduct an investigation when there is an allegation that a crime has been committed, regardless of whether the elder or dependent adult wants the investigation to go forward or not.
To learn more about one’s rights as an APS client:
PUB 470 - Your Rights Under Adult Protective Services
Benefits to Reporting Abuse
- The elder or dependent adult will be given options to keep him/her safe from harm
- The APS worker can link the client, family to needed community resources
- Unaware family members and friends can be alerted to step in to help
- The APS worker can find ways to help the caregiver handle stress
- In some cases, the abuse perpetrator can be prosecuted, lessening the harm to others
- The individual making the report feels relief that a professional is assessing the situation
Please note that, due to confidentiality laws, APS cannot tell the person reporting the abuse the results of their investigation.
APS services are available to any elder (65 or older) or dependent adult who is believed to have been a victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation regardless of income at no cost.
Where to Get Help
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, PLEASE CONTACT 911
If you want to report elder abuse or dependent adult abuse in the community, contact your local county APS Office. For most types of abuse, County APS programs have 10 days to respond to your report. Abuse reports may also be made to your local law enforcement agency.
Information For Mandated Reporters
Most people who work with elders or disabled adults are mandated reporters under state law. To determine whether you are a mandated reporter, please review Welfare and Institution Code Section 15630, which reads in part:
“Any person who has assumed full or intermittent responsibility for care or custody of an elder or dependent adult, whether or not that person receives compensation, including administrators, supervisors, and any licensed staff of a public or private facility that provides care or services for elder or dependent adults, or any elder or dependent adult care custodian, health practitioner, or employee of a county adult protective services agency or a local law enforcement agency is a mandated reporter.”
Mandated reporters are required to report suspected abuse or neglect by phone as soon as possible and follow up with a completed written report (see link below for form) within two days. Failure to report abuse of an elder or dependent adult is a misdemeanor, punishable by not more than six months in the county jail or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or both imprisonment and fine. Any mandated reporter who willfully fails to report abuse where the abuse results in death or great bodily injury, may be punished by up to one year in county jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both imprisonment and fine.
The following forms are to assist you in filing your report of suspected dependent adult or elder abuse. If you are employed by a financial institution, please complete form SOC 342. All other persons should complete form SOC 341.
Program Information For County APS
The following are APS forms available for use. Translated and other program forms are also available.
Program Letters and Notices
2017 Letters and Notices
2016 Letters and Notices
2015 Letters and Notices
- ACIN I-91-15 (December 15, 2015)
Revised Adult Protective Services (APS) and County Services Block Grant (CSBG) Monthly Statistical Report SOC 242 (9/15)
- ACL 15-33 (May 4, 2015)
Implementation of Assembly Bill (AB) 40, New Reporting Requirements for Suspected Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse, Revised Reporting Form SOC 341, and Revised Acknowledgement Form SOC 341A
2014 Letters and Notices
- ACIN I-58-14 (September 30, 2014)
Change in Implementation Date for the Revised Adult Protective Services (APS) and County Service Block Grant (CSBG) Monthly Statistical Report SOC 242 (10/14)
- ACIN I-38-14 (July 18, 2014)
California Department of Social Services - County Collaboration on SOC 242
- ACL 14-42 (June 23, 2014)
Revised Adult Protective Services (APS) And County Services Block Grant (CSBG) Monthly Statistical Report SOC 242 (10/14)
2012 Letters and Notices
2011 Letters and Notices
2010 Letters and Notices
2008 Letters and Notices
2007 Letters and Notices
2006 Letters and Notices
- ACL 06-59 (December 19, 2006)
New Form: Report Of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Financial Abuse, Form SOC 342 and Revised Form: Report Of Suspected Dependent Adult/Elder Abuse, Form SOC 341
2000 Letters and Notices
1999 Letters and Notices
1998 Letters and Notices
1997 Letters and Notices