Member Release: Adult Protective Services

The following information provides an overview of the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments’ (OCWCOG) Adult Protective Services (APS) program. It is our responsibility to work with you and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our older adults and people with disabilities. As such, you should know what the scope of our authority is and how we can work best with you and your communities to protect your citizens.

The purpose of OCWCOG’s APS program is to reduce incidents of abuse and neglect, and when possible, to intervene and lessen risk for those that are not able to protect themselves.

APS’ scope is working with older adults, adults with physical disabilities, any adult resident of a licensed care facility, and any nursing facility residents regardless of age.

Allegation Types

  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Neglect
  • Involuntary Seclusion
  • Abandonment
  • Financial Exploitation
  • Verbal or Emotional Abuse
  • Self-Neglect
  • Wrongful Use of a Physical or Chemical Restraint

Functions of APS

  • Screening through skilled interviewing to gather and assess information in order to determine eligibility for APS, and determine whether a reported concern meets the definition of abuse or self-neglect.
  • Consultation to reduce harm may be provided in the form of specialized information or assistance, enhanced referral, or technical assistance when the reported concern does not meet eligibility criteria for abuse or self-neglect.
  • Triage to determine the nature and severity of the risk to individuals and the immediacy of response required.
  • In-person assessment determines the alleged victim’s degree of risk, level of functioning, adequacy of information, and ability to protect their own interests. Assessment additionally determines the alleged victim’s ability to reduce the risk of harm in their environment and to make informed choices and understand the consequences of those choices.
  • Intervention to assist the victim to reduce or remove the threat of harm that has placed the victim at risk.
  • Documentation of all investigations shall be objective, professional, thorough, and completed within State-mandated timeframes.
  • Risk management through short-term, active assessment and intervention can be appropriate with an alleged victim who is at serious risk of harm, or continues to be at serious risk of harm, after an investigation is complete.
  • Community outreach to promote education about identifying and preventing abuse and self-neglect of older adults and adults with physical disabilities.

What APS Can and Cannot Do

  • APS is charged with addressing concerns of abuse and self-neglect for older adults and adults with physical disabilities.
  • People served have the right to self-determination and can make choices that do not conform to societal norms.
  • This includes the ability to choose to refuse to participate in APS investigation and intervention, but does prevent an investigation from occurring.
  • If a victim is unable to make informed choices or understand the consequences of their actions, APS works to put support(s) in place, but are not able to do anything against the victim’s wishes.
  • In order to intervene against a person’s wishes, a protective order identifying someone else as the guardian or conservator must be in place.
  • APS cannot pursue or pay for protective orders, but can only provide guidance and support to community partners, such as law enforcement, attorneys, family, and health professionals, as they navigate that process.
  • The level of risk required to take a person’s rights away is very high and protective orders are difficult to obtain.
  • Investigations that rise to the level of being criminal are referred to law enforcement for investigation and prosecution.
  • APS can provide support to law enforcement agencies during criminal investigations by providing expertise in areas such as strategies for working with people with dementia or navigating long-term services systems.

Randi Moore
Senior and Disability Services Director