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Adult Protective Services (APS)


Dorothy Thomas, 

Adult Protection Policy Analyst 

(307) 777- 3602


What are adult protective services?

The goal of adult protective services is to ensure that safety and basic needs are being met in the least restrictive environment. This can be in an adult's home or elsewhere. These services are provided or arranged for a vulnerable adult/elder who is eligible for protective services by definition. Services may include but are not limited to: social casework, case management, home care, day care, mental healthcare, physical evaluations, homemaker services, emergency shelter, assistance obtaining guardianship and referrals to appropriate community agencies.


Who could benefit from adult protective services?

Any eligible adult who is being abused, neglected, abandoned,  exploited, intimidated, or is self-neglecting. This includes adults who live independently as well as those living in facilities such as developmentally disabled and aged.


Who is covered under adult protective services?

The program serves vulnerable adults which means any person 18 years of age or older who is unable to manage and take care of himself or his property without assistance as a result of advanced age or physical or mental disability.


Who investigates adult care facilities?

DFS will accept for investigation and assessment, concerns for people living in nursing homes and other residential care facilities. Find a DFS office in your community by clicking here.  


Relevant definitions include:


Abandonment: Leaving a vulnerable adult without financial support or the means or ability to obtain food, clothing, shelter or health care.


Abuse: Intentionally or recklessly inflicting physical or mental injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation, cruel punishment, and may include sexual offenses.


Exploitation: The reckless or intentional act taken by any person, or any use of the power of attorney, conservatorship or guardianship of vulnerable adult, to obtain control through deception, harassment, intimidation or undue influence over the vulnerable adult's money, assets or property with the intention of depriving the vulnerable adult of those assets, or to intentionally misuse the principal's property and, in doing so, adversely affect the principal's ability to receive healthcare or pay bills for basic needs or obligations.


Intimidation: The communication by word or act to a vulnerable adult that he, his family, friends or pets will be deprived of food, shelter, clothing, supervision, prescribed medication, physical or mental health care and other medical care necessary to maintain a vulnerable adults health, financial support or will suffer physical violence.


Neglect: Depriving a vulnerable adult of the minimum food, shelter, clothing, supervision, physical and mental health care, and other care necessary to maintain life or health, or which may result in a life-threatening situation.


Self-neglect: When a vulnerable adult is unable, due to physical or mental disability, or refuses to perform essential self-care tasks, including providing essential food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, obtaining physical or mental health care, emotional well-being and general safety, or managing financial affairs.


Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse means sexual contact including, but not limited to, unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery as defined in W.S. 6-2-302 through 6-2-304, sexual exploitation and sexual photographing.


Who can report concerns?

Anyone who has a reasonable suspicion or knowledge that an adult is being abused, abandoned, exploited, neglected, intimidated or is self-neglecting should make a report to the Department of Family Services or law enforcement. Anyone making such a report in good faith is immune from civil liability, even if the investigation indicates there is no wrongdoing. Names of reporters are kept confidential.


How do I make a report?

Reports should be made to your local Department of Family Services office by phone or in person. An on-call caseworker is available 24 hours a day. You may also make a report to your local law enforcement agency, such as the police or sheriff.


What happens after I make a report?  

A DFS caseworker, law enforcement officer, or both will contact the vulnerable adult and caregiver to arrange a home visit and complete an assessment of the situation. The reporter may be contacted for further information.


What are APS Community Teams?

The focus of these teams is to partner and address the issues we all deal with in terms of supporting vulnerable adults and elders in our communities. The challenges for this population are affecting both our personal and professional lives and the teams create an opportunity for networking and positive discussion.


Find a local APS Team in your community.


APS Training Resources

View list of training resources.