Adult Protective Services Law and Legal Definition

Adult Protective Services or APS are publicly funded programs which investigate and intervene in reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of adults who are physically or mentally impaired and unable to protect themselves from harm. It promotes the safety and well-being for older persons or other vulnerable adults whose health or circumstances subject them to harm or threat of harm.

In U.S, many states provide adult protective services to older adults only whereas some states provide adult protective services to anyone over the age of 18. All states have laws mandating the protection of vulnerable older persons. Law implementation is handled by public departments of social services or state units on aging. Services range from investigation of mistreatment to legal intervention in the form of court orders or surrogate decision makers such as a legal guardian.