What Is Adult Protective Services?

Posted On April 22, 2020 Elder Abuse

At Siegel Law, our Anaheim elder abuse lawyers strongly believe that adults in this country should never have to worry about being abused. Unfortunately, data from the National Council on Aging shows that elder abuse is much more common than most people realize. Statistics show that approximately one out of every 10 people over the age of 60 experience some form of elder abuse. Adult Protective Services are meant to protect the most vulnerable people in the population.

What Does Adult Protective Services Do?

Every state in the country, including California, has an Adult Protective Services (APS) agency that provides social services to elderly adults (usually those aged 60 or 65 and over) as well as to vulnerable adults (those aged 18 to 64 with severe disabilities). APS can be thought of as the adult equivalent to Child Protective Services. APS agencies play a vital role in detecting and combatting elder abuse and the abuse of vulnerable adults. There are various types of abuse that APS investigates, including:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Financial abuse

It is important for individuals to understand that the signs and symptoms of elder abuse will vary depending on the situation and what type of abuse is occurring. In many cases, an elderly or vulnerable adult will experience multiple types of abuse at a time, called polyvictimization. Unfortunately, the signs of abuse may not be noticed right away because there are often no physical markings. It is important for friends and family members of elderly and vulnerable adults to look out for not only physical signs of abuse but also changes in behavior that can occur due to abuse.

APS agencies provide a wide variety of services, including the following:

  • Investigations into elder abuse allegations
  • Evaluations of risk and mental capacity
  • Counseling for elder abuse victims
  • Developing and implementing case plans tailored for each victim
  • Connecting victims with additional resources and benefits
  • Continual monitoring of delivery of services and benefits

APS agencies work closely with law enforcement in the event they uncover incidents of elderly abuse or abuse against vulnerable adults.

What Happens When a Report Is Made?

When a concerned citizen makes contact with APS, the details they provide will be screened by trained professionals who evaluate if the statutory reporting requirements for APS are met. If the situation meets the criteria for abuse, exploitation, or neglect, then an APS worker will initiate face to face contact with the adult who needs assistance.

APS workers will assess the elder or vulnerable adult’s safety, their need for assistance, and determine which services will be most beneficial to maintain the individual’s independence and well-being.

Adult Protective Services in California

Every county in California has an Adult Protective Services agency to assist residents aged 65 and over as well as disabled dependents who are aged 18 to 64. These county Adult Protective Services agencies investigate reports of elder abuse and dependent adult abuse that occur in private homes, hospitals, apartments, and hotels.

To report abuse to a California Adult Protective Services center, you can call 1-833-401-0832 to be connected with your county agency seven days a week, 24 hours a day. In California, an APS worker is required to make in-person contact immediately if imminent danger is suspected. In all other cases, in-person contact must be initiated within 10 days of the report.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Request a Complimentary Consultation

If your elderly loved one is being abused or mistreated, learn how our attorney can help you. You can reach us by calling (562) 372-6904 or using the form below.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


To protect you from COVID-19, we are offering a quick & easy remote intake process.