Office of Children and Family Services

Adult Protective Services

Protective Services for Adults Frequently Asked Questions

To report adult abuse, call (within New York State only):1-844-697-3505 or
contact the local county Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services.

What is adult abuse?

Adult abuse is the mistreatment of an impaired adult, age 18 or over, who may be dependent on someone else for basic needs. Further explanation can be found on the page Types of Abuse.

What are some signs of adult abuse?

Some of the signs of abuse taking place are unexplained injuries, sudden decrease of financial resources, and sudden changes in mood or behavior. Further explanation can be found on the Risk Factors & Indicators page.

What can I do to stop adult abuse?

You can report suspected abuse to Protective Services for Adults. Reports can be made anonymously, if desired. Contact information is found at the bottom of every page .

What does Protective Services for Adults do?

The Protective Services for Adults program, provided through local county departments of social services, has the legal responsibility to investigate alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation of impaired adults, age 18 and over, who live in the community.

What programs are available to assist the elderly and/or other New York adults who are in danger of abuse or exploitation?

Protective Services for Adults are available to New Yorkers age 18 or older, living in the community, who are at risk of abuse or neglect. Services include: counseling for the adult and family, arranging for medical and mental health assessments, applying for benefits, coordination with law enforcement and other agencies, finding alternative living arrangements, financial management services , homemaker and housekeeper chore services within specified limits, crisis interventions such as protective court orders, and long term legal interventions, such as guardianship.

For more information about Protective Services for Adults, homemaker services, personal care aides, Family-Type Homes for Adults or referral to other community services, contact your local Department of Social Services and ask for Adult Protective Services.

How do I make a referral if I believe an adult is at risk of abuse or neglect?

Call your local county Department of Social Services Adult Protective Services, which will investigate reports of adult and elder abuse. To obtain specific telephone numbers, call, 24 hours, 1-800-342-3009 (press 6). Referrals for PSA are accepted Monday -Friday, during normal business hours. If an adult is in danger and needs immediate assistance you should contact local law enforcement.

What happens when I make a referral? Who responds?

In responding to referrals PSA will visit the adult's home within 3 working days, or within 24 hours for a life threatening situation. Services will be provided that reduce the risk to the adult and which support the adult's ability to stay in the community for as long a possible.

What if the elderly or impaired adult refuses help?

Competent adults have the right to exercise free choice in deciding whether to accept services. If an adult appears to be capable of understanding the risks and chooses to stay in an abusive or neglectful situation this can be a difficult decision for others to understand. PSA will offer services and try to convince the adult to accept help. If there are questions about the adult's mental capacity, then a mental health evaluation will be pursued to determine if court-ordered interventions should be provided.

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