The Mission of Adult Protective Services
Adult Protective Services (APS) is a public safety program within the Division of Licensing and Protection (DLP), Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living. APS is tasked with receiving and investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable elderly and disabled adults in Vermont. Investigations are conducted to determine the validity of allegations and, when warranted, include the coordination of protective services to address critical safety concerns. APS does not conduct criminal investigations. However, if APS determines that an incident has risen to the level of criminal behavior, a referral will be made to the appropriate prosecutorial agency (e.g. Attorney General’s Office).
APS assists vulnerable adults by making referrals to community organizations such as the Council on Aging or Home Health agencies. APS has the authority to help vulnerable adults obtain emergency orders from the courts to help protect themselves from further abuse, neglect or exploitation. APS is also involved in community education programs to raise the public awareness of abuse issues, encourage prevention efforts and educate personal care staff members about mandatory reporting responsibilities.
APS may pursue a guardianship petition if a vulnerable adult has impaired cognitive functioning that significantly results in decision-making that poses serious risks to their health, safety or financial well-being. Individuals who are competent to make their own decisions -- but make “bad decisions” -- are not subject to protective action, unless they voluntarily choose to be so covered.
The APS Program maintains a registry of substantiated perpetrators of abuse and performs checks of that registry for employers who provide care to vulnerable adults. Health care facilities are encouraged to make use of this registry when screening and hiring employees involved in giving care.