Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Protective Services FAQ

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What is the Law?
In 1985, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law establishing Adult Protective Service (APS) Units to protect endangered adults in Indiana and to provide protective services to these individuals. You can find the relevant section of the Indiana Code at 12-1-3. To link to the Indiana Code Click Here.

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What is an endangered adult?
An endangered adult is someone 18 years or older who:

  • Due to mental illness, mental retardation, dementia, habitual drunkenness, excessive use of drugs, or other physical or mental incapacity, is incapable of managing his or her property, or providing or directing the provision of self-care

AND

  • is harmed or threatened with harm as a result of

    • Neglect,
    • Battery, or
    • Exploitation of personal services or property.

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What is the role of Adult Protective Services (APS)?
Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of endangered adults. APS investigators can take legal action to protect an endangered adult. Investigators can also use medical, psychiatric, legal, and social service resources in the community to protect the health and safety of the endangered adult.

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What Types of Abuse are Investigated by Adult Protective Services (APS)?
APS investigates cases of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Investigators also look into cases of neglect by a caregiver, self-neglect, as well as financial and material exploitation.

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Who can make a report to Adult Protective Services (APS)?
An individual who believes or has reason to believe that someone is an endangered adult and is the victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation is required by law to make a report to law enforcement, Adult Protective Services (APS), or through the APS Hotline 1-800-992-6978.
Although everyone is required to report, some people who work closely with the elderly more commonly report suspected abuse.

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Is my report confidential?
The identity of all persons who report is confidential. Violation of statutory confidentiality may result in a criminal misdemeanor charge. Adult Protective Services may reveal the names of reporting parties only to other investigative agencies as specified by law.

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Can I be civilly or criminally liable for reporting an endangered adult or testifying?
A person who in good faith makes a report of an endangered adult, or testifies at administrative or judicial proceedings on matters arising from the report, is immune from both civil and criminal liability for doing so.

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Can my employer prevent me from reporting or retaliate against me for reporting an endangered adult?
No supervisor or administrator may impede or prohibit reporting and an employer may not reduce benefits or otherwise retaliate against them.

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What are the benefits to reporting abuse?

  • The endangered adult will be given options to keep him/her safe from harm
  • The Adult Protective Services (APS) worker can link the adult and family to needed community resources
  • Family members and friends who are unaware may be alerted and step in to help
  • The APS worker can find ways to help the caregiver handle stress
  • A perpetrator of abuse may be prosecuted, preventing harm to others
  • Reporting suspected abuse allows a professional to follow up and assess the situation.

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How do I make a report?

  • Call APS United 10 at 812-349-2665 or call the state hotline at 1-800-992-6978, or
  • Complete an Online Confidential Report, or
  • Visit us at our office located at 120 West 7th Street, Suite 210 Bloomington, IN

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Does the victim have the right to refuse services?
Yes, if the victim is mentally competent they have the right to refuse services. If they are not competent then Adult Protective Services may take action to protect the individual.

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What is an Adult Guardianship?
Adult Guardianships are a useful legal tool to help people who lack the capacity to make decisions for themselves – such as those suffering from dementia or developmental disabilities. In a guardianship proceeding the court appoints a guardian to manage an incapacitated person’s financial assets or personal affairs. The incapacitated person is then known as the “protected person.” A guardian can help ensure that the protected person lives with security and dignity to the greatest extent possible given their circumstances

To learn more about guardianships the Prosecutors Office produced “Adult Guardianship: What You Need to Know” – a YouTube video and companion fact sheet. To see these resources Click Here.

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What is the difference between guardianship and Power of Attorney (POA)?
A Power of Attorney (POA) is a written authorization for someone else to represent or act on another’s behalf in the management of personal or financial affairs. A POA or Health Care Representative document may be an alternative to establishing a guardianship. However, Power of Attorney or Health Care Representative documents must be created while the individual still has the mental capacity to understand and sign a legal document. The key difference is the issue of legal capacity. Once a person has already become incapacitated, a guardianship may be the only solution.

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Does Adult Protective Services (APS) help people who are mentally ill?
Yes. Any call with concerns about someone who is possibly an endangered adult is investigated. However, a mentally ill person may or may not meet the legal requirement for being considered an “endangered adult” under the statute. Any help that can be provided to the individual will be suggested.

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Does Adult Protective Services (APS) help people who are abusing drugs or alcohol and putting themselves at risk?
Any call with concerns about someone who is possibly an endangered adult is investigated. However, a person abusing drugs or alcohol may not meet the legal requirement for being considered an “endangered adult” under the statute. Any help that can be provided to the individual will be suggested.

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Does Adult Protective Services (APS) investigate hoarders?
Yes, but it should be understood that assistance may not be accepted. Also, many people who are hoarders do not meet the definition of “endangered adult” under the statute. Any help that can be provided to the individual will be suggested.

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How can I safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired pharmaceutical drugs?
Unused, unwanted, or expired pharmaceutical drugs can be safely disposed of in drop boxes at the IU Health Bloomington Hospital lobby, and at the Monroe County Solid Waste District Main Facility in the Hazardous Materials section. For more information visit the Monroe County Pharmaceutical Safe Disposal Program page. Click here.

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