Adult Protective Services (APS) receives reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of at-risk adults, conducts an investigation into the allegations, and implements services to reduce and prevent further mistreatment.
Colorado operates as a stated supervised, county administered system. County APS programs provide for the safety and protection of at-risk adults who are or are suspected to be, victims of mistreatment.
At-risk adults are defined as persons age 18 or older who are susceptible to mistreatment or self-neglect because the adult is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for his or her health, safety, or welfare or because they lack sufficient understanding or to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning their person or affairs.
Certain professionals are required by law (mandatory reporters) to report physical abuse, sexual abuse, caretaker neglect and exploitation of at risk elders and at-risk adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. An at-risk elder is any person 70 years of age or older. An at-risk adult with IDD is a person who is eighteen years of age or older who has an onset of an intellectual and developmental disability before the person is 22 years old.
Mandatory reporters must make a report to local law enforcement within 24 hours of witnessing or becoming aware of the mistreatment. Failure to make a report or if you make a false report it is a class 3 misdemeanor. If charged and convicted you could receive a fine of up to $750, or six months in jail or both.
An at-risk adult has the right to refuse services and APS assistance when they appear capable of understanding the consequences of doing so, he or she cannot be forced to accept any services.
Byline: Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Pueblo County APS, a division of Pueblo County Dept. of Human Services and may be reached at 719-583-6853