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Protective Services for Adults Pub. 1326

Adobe PDF Pub. 1326 (521k) Also available in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic.

Protecting Adults from Abuse and Neglect

Who Needs Help?

Adults, 18 or older, may need protective services for a variety of reasons:

  • The have a physical or mental impairment.
  • They can no longer protect themselves from neglect, abuse, or hazardous situations.
  • They cannot provide for their most basic needs for food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
  • They have no one willing or able to help in a responsible manner.

Do You Know An Adult Who Needs Help?

There are warning signs that friends, neighbors and relatives should learn to recognize:

  • There is no sign of activity at the home of a person living alone; mail and newspapers may pile up.
  • A vulnerable adult is dependent on a stressed, mentally ill or substance abusing caregiver.
  • An adult is seen wandering outdoors in frigid weather without adequate clothing.
  • An elderly neighbor has become frail and malnourished, and refuses your offer of assistance.
  • A disabled or elderly person shows bruises and other signs of possible physical abuse.
  • A person shows confusion and forgetfulness over money, leaving essential bills unpaid.

What Can I Do?

A family member, a friend, a neighbor or other concerned person who is worried about an individual who may need PSA's help can call the local Department of Social Services. Referrals may be made anonymously. Of course, individuals who recognize their own need for help may call for themselves.

What Services Are Available?

PSA can provide services to strengthen an adult's ability to live in the community as long as possible. Here are some of the services PSA can provide:

  • Investigation of requests for help.
  • A home visit to identify needs and arrange for services, medical care or other resources in the community.
  • Counseling for the person and the family.
  • Money management services.
  • Referral to legal services
  • Assistance in finding other living arrangements.
  • Services to obtain a guardian.
  • Homemaker and housekeeper/chore services in certain cases.
  • Assistance in obtaining other benefits and services.

How one concerned neighbor was able to help:

A young woman living in an apartment building returned from a short vacation and became concerned when she noticed a pile of newspapers at her elderly neighbors' door. She knew they were supposed to be home since she had spoken with them before she left. She rang their doorbell and found that the man had fallen and hurt his leg. His wife was confused and afraid to go out alone, so they had no food in the apartment. The young woman, realizing she couldn't handle this on her own, called the local Department of Social Services for help. PSA arranged for medical care and temporary homemaker help until the couple could manage on their own again.

What Will The Services Cost?

PSA services are free to all adults in need of them, regardless of income.

What Are The Individual's Rights?

Adults have a right to make their own decisions.They may choose to accept or refuse the services PSA offers. In cases of extreme need, the local Department of Social Services is required to intervene to protect the individual.

Who Should I Call?

Call your local Department of Social Services and ask for Protective Services for Adults.

Contact Information

New York State Office of Children & Family Services
Capital View Office Park
52 Washington Street
Rensselaer, New York 12144

Visit our website at:

For child care, foster care and adoption information, call:

To report child abuse and neglect, call:

For information on the Abandoned Infant Protection Act, call:

For the phone number of your county adult services office, call:
1-800-342-3009 (Press Option 6)

Pub. #1326 (Rev. 11/02)