APS case workers from FCPHD conduct investigations and work with adults age 60 or older and adults age 18-59 with disabilities in resolving abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation situations. If abuse is substantiated, case workers can provide an in-home assessment, counseling, advocacy, assistance in obtaining benefits and services, coordination with other agencies, and monitoring. All APS caseworkers are trained and certified by the Illinois Department on Aging.
Abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation takes many forms, and in many cases, victims are subjected to more than one type of mistreatment.
Anyone can report a case of abuse in good faith. The Adult Protective Services Act provides that people – who in good faith report suspected abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or cooperate with an investigation – are immune from criminal or civil liability or professional disciplinary action. It further provides that the identity of the reporter shall not be disclosed except with the written permission of the reporter or by order of a court. Anonymous reports are accepted.
The reporter should be prepared to answer the following questions to the best of his or her ability:
A trained APS case worker will respond within a specified time period depending on the severity of the case: within 24 hours for life threatening situations, within 72 hours for most neglect and non-threatening physical abuse situations, and up to seven days for most emotional abuse or financial exploitation reports.
The case worker will contact the victim and help determine what services are most appropriate to stop the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
The alleged victim has a right to accept or decline services. As an adult, a competent person may refuse an assessment and may refuse all services and interventions. This is called the client’s right to self–determination, upon which the APS program is based. No decisions are made about a competent adult without that adult’s involvement and consent.
Where a person has dementia or another form of cognitive impairment, the APS program works to assess the situation and to provide services, as needed. In some cases, the APS Provider Agency petitions the court for guardianship in order to ensure that the person’s needs are met. Guardianship and/or alternative long-term care residential services are always the last resort.
To report suspected abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an adult age 60 or older or a person with disabilities age 18-59 call the statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline: 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY). Reporters can also contact FCPHD directly at (217) 379-9281 during normal hours of operation (8 am-4:30 pm).
All reports and records of the Adult Protective Services Program are subject to strict confidentiality provisions, except as provided by law or court order.
Don McCall, Full-Time APS Caseworker Lana Sample, APS Caseworker/Supervisor