Adult Protective Services Act
The Adult Protective Services Act gives the Illinois Department on Aging the authority to establish the Adult Protective Services (APS) program for adults with disabilities. APS also serves non-disabled adults 60 and over. The program consists of 45 provider agencies designated by the Department on Aging to receive and act on reports of possible abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults with disabilities living in domestic living situations such as private homes where the person lives alone, with family, or a caregiver, or in community-based unlicensed facilities.
The purpose of this law is to make sure that reports of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation are investigated and handled. Anyone who suspects that an adult with a disability is being abused, neglected, or financially exploited may contact APS, including the person with the disability.
Reporting suspected abuse of an adult with a disability
APS has a statewide telephone number that anyone can use to report suspected abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an adult with disabilities. APS agencies investigate these reports and assist the abused, neglected, or exploited person in getting services they need to prevent further harm.
In order to make a report, any interested person can call the Adult Protective Services Hotline at (800) 800-1409.
The identity of the person making the report is confidential and cannot be disclosed except with their written consent or by court order. Anyone who makes a report in good faith or provides information in connection with an APS investigation is protected from criminal or civil liability for those actions. APS also accepts anonymous reports.
When the APS Hotline receives a report, an APS agency conducts an investigation to determine whether the report is founded.
APS will begin its investigation within 24 hours if an individual is at risk of immediate harm. APS will investigate most reports of neglect or non-physical abuse within 72 hours and all other reports within seven days.
The investigation must include a face-to-face visit with the adult with disabilities who is the subject of the report. The investigation may also include a visit to the home and interviews with other people who might have information.
APS will not conduct the investigation without the consent of the individual who is the subject of the report. If the individual is unable to grant consent because of a physical or mental impairment, or is unable to understand or communicate, then APS might try to have a temporary legal guardian appointed to grant consent.
If APS believes the adult with a disability was abused, neglected or financially exploited, it will create a service plan for them. APS will arrange for protective services for an individual as long as they or their guardian consent to the assessment and services.
Interference with reporting or with the investigation
It is against the law for anyone to interfere with or prevent an adult with disabilities from making a report of abuse. Likewise, no one may interfere with or try to prevent the performance of an investigation of a report by APS, if the adult with a disability consents to the investigation.
If access to an adult with a disability is denied and a third party has interfered with an assessment or service plan or APS believes the adult with a disability has denied access out of coercion, extortion or fear of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, APS, the Department on Aging, or the Office of the Attorney General can go to court and obtain an access order. Local law enforcement agencies can assist the APS caseworker in presenting the access order and meeting the adult with the disability. If there is a clear risk of immediate serious harm to the adult with disabilities, a law enforcement officer may knock and enter the premises without an access order.
The case plan
After conducting the investigation, APS may determine that abuse, neglect or financial exploitation has occurred. In that event, APS and the adult will create a case plan to eliminate further harm. This plan may include assistance under the Home Services Program so that the adult with disabilities will not need to rely on an abusive family or household member. The plan may also include such things as assistance with obtaining an Order of Protection and assistance with removing an abusive guardian. For more information about possible services, see Illinois' Department on Aging website.