Adult Protective Services
(Elder Abuse) RC 5101.60 et seq. Adult Protective Services (APS), as part of the Delaware County Department of Job and Family Services (DCDJFS) has the responsibility of investigating reports of suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of “persons” who are aged 60 and older living in an independent living arrangement in the county or who were abused within the county. If the investigative report determines that the person is in need of protective services and is incapacitated, the department may petition the Probate Court for an Order authorizing the provision of protective services. The Petition shall state the specific facts alleging the abuse, neglect, or exploitation and shall include a proposed protective service plan.
The RC defines “abuse” as infliction upon an adult person by self or other of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish. It might include physical abuse, emotional abuse or sexual abuse. “Neglect” is defined as the failure of an adult to provide for self the goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental anguish, or mental illness or the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services. “Exploitation” means the unlawful or improper act of a caretaker using an adult or an adult’s resources for their monetary or personal benefit, profit or gain.
The following categories of professionals are known as “mandatory reporters”. When a mandatory reporter has reasonable cause to believe a protected adult is being abused, neglected or exploited or is in a condition which is a result of such treatment, then the reporter is required to immediately report suspected abuse to the county DJFS:
- any attorney, physician, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor, dentist, psychologist, or pharmacist;
- any employee of a hospital, any nurse, any employees of an ambulatory health facility, any employee of a home health agency, and adult care facility, a community alternative home, a nursing home, a residential care facility or home for the aging, or senior service provider;
- any peace officer, firefighter, first responder, EMT, ambulance driver, coroner, or member of the clergy;
- any employee of a community mental health facility, or agent of a county humane facility;
- any person in social work or counseling, or building inspector; and
- any CPA, real estate broker or salesperson, investment adviser, accredited financial planner, or notary public; and
- others specified in RC 5101.63.
The Ohio statutes give immunity from civil and criminal liability to individuals who make reports of abuse in good faith and prohibit employer retaliation.
When reporting information, one should provide the adult’s name and approximate age, the name of the adult caregiver, the nature of the suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation and the basis for the belief that it has occurred.
The APS must investigate emergency reports within 24 hours and all other reports within three working days. The Investigator must meet face to face with the allegedly abused adult and prepare a written report. Neither the initial report nor the investigative report are public records, although the information within the report shall, upon request, be provided to the adult, the adult’s counsel and to agencies authorized by DJFS to receive it.
APS arranged services may include, if available, voluntary acceptance of caseworker services and home-related services and involuntary referral for guardianship services. The APS can also petition the Probate Court for a temporary restraining order to prevent interference with the investigation, can petition the Court to approve a service plan for providing involuntary services and after a hearing and a showing by clear and convincing evidence, obtain an Order requiring protective services for six (6) months, renewable for up to one (1) year.
If you have any questions regarding Adult Protective Services or elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, please contact the APS worker at (740) 833-2340.
Ohio criminal law (RC 2903.16) establishes criminal penalties for a caretaker’s knowing or reckless failure to provide for a functionally impaired person under the caretaker’s care when verifying levels of physical harm that has occurred as a result. Violations should be immediately reported to the applicable law enforcement agency.