Principles in Providing Protective Services to Adults
- Adults have the right to make decisions for themselves until such time as a court determines the adult lacks the capacity to decide and assigns that responsibility to a guardian or conservator. The adult's right to decide includes the right to accept help, the right to refuse help, and the right to make unwise or poor decisions.
- Freedom is as important as safety; that is, an adult may choose to live in an unsafe situation or even in a self-destructive manner provided that that person is capable of choosing, does not harm other persons, and is committing no crime.
- Services that support and strengthen the adult's informal support system, e.g., family, neighbors, friends, church members, are important to the long-term safety and well being of the adult victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
- The least restrictive service is the most appropriate service. Protective services should be provided with the least possible disruption to the adult's life.
- The privacy rights of the adult will be respected and information concerning him or her will be held in confidence. Information that is learned and maintained as a result of an APS investigation is confidential and is not subject to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Limited information may be shared with certain entities when the information is reasonably necessary for conducting investigations by local and state government agencies for the purpose of providing services to the subject of the information.
- When the interests of an APS client, family member, the community, or others are in conflict, it is the responsibility of the APS Family Services Specialist to represent the interest of the client.