Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Launches System for Reporting Abuse of Adults with Disabilities
This month the Department of Human Services (DHS) begins a program for implementing the Adult Protective Services (APS) Law, which provides protective services to adults between 18 and 59 years of age who have a physical or mental disability.
Similar to the Older Adult Protective Services Act (OAPSA) administered by the Department of Aging, APS is designed to detect, prevent, reduce, and eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment of adults with disabilities.
“Pennsylvanians have a right to live free from abuse and neglect,” said Acting DHS Secretary Ted Dallas. “Implementing the Adult Protective Services law allows us to better help individuals with disabilities that are in an abusive or neglectful situation so that they can live safely in their communities.”
The APS law mandates that specific employees and administrators who work with persons with disabilities must report incidents of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment to the adult protective services hotline. This includes staff and administrators in nursing homes, personal care homes, residential facilities, home health care agencies, or any publicly funded setting that provides direct care to adults with disabilities.
To implement the APS, the Department awarded a contract to Liberty Healthcare through a competitive bid to investigate cases and provide protective services. Under the contract, which began April 1, Liberty Healthcare will investigate cases statewide.
Previously, the Department of Aging (PDA) and several Area Agencies on Aging assisted the Department in the investigation of adult protective services cases. The Department of Aging continues to provide protective services for older adults 60 years of age and older.
"The Department of Aging remains committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable citizens are protected from all types of abuse and neglect, and encourages anyone who suspects abuse to call the statewide protective service hotline,” said Acting PDA Secretary Teresa Osborne.
Anyone who suspects that an adult is the victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation, or abandonment should call the statewide protective services hotline at 1-800-490-8505. Reporters can remain anonymous and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination, and civil and criminal prosecution under the APS law.
More information about the APS program can be found on the DHS website: www.dhs.state.pa.us and click on the REPORT ABUSE button.