Adult Protective Services

Goals
The goal of Adult Protective Services (APS) is to protect a vulnerable adult's life, health, and property without a loss of liberty. When this is not possible, APS attempts to provide assistance with the least disruption of life style and with full due process, protection, and restoration of the person's liberty in the shortest possible period of time. APS seeks to achieve simultaneously and in order of importance: freedom, safety, and minimal disruption of lifestyle and least-restrictive care.

Background & Authority
In 1974, the Code of Virginia, ยง 63.2-1605, included for the first time statutory authority for providing adult protective services in Virginia. Local departments of social services were assigned authority to receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation across all care settings and to provide the needed protective services.

Three years later, in 1977, the protective services provision of the Code of Virginia was amended to allow the court to authorize "involuntary protective services" (i.e., services for adults who need protection and who do not have the ability to consent to the necessary services).

Virginia became one of the first states in the nation to recognize an adult segment of the population living at risk of harm and lacking the ability to act in its own best interest. A 1983 amendment to the Code of Virginia strengthened protection to vulnerable adults in Virginia by:
  • Moving a step beyond authorizing local departments of social services to provide protective services,
  • Requiring those departments to receive and investigate reports, and
  • Providing protective services when the need is documented through an APS investigation.