APS In-Home program is responsible for investigating abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and providing services to persons who are aged 65 or older or, if age 18-65, with mental, physical, or developmental disabilities that substantially impair the ability to live independently or provide for their own self-care or protection, who reside in the community (e.g., private homes, unlicensed adult foster homes, unlicensed board and care homes, etc.).
Sec. 48.002(c) of the Human Resources Code gives APS authority to further define abuse, neglect, and exploitation for purposes of conducting an investigation. These definitions can be found in 40 Texas Administrative Code §705.
Investigation and Assessment
APS caseworkers investigate reported abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation to determine if the alleged victim has a substantial impairment, if the reported situation exists, and to what extent it adversely affects the alleged victim. Reports of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation sometimes do not contain sufficient information for APS to determine an adult’s level of impairment from a disability; therefore, APS assesses the alleged victim’s level of impairment to determine whether he or she meets APS eligibility criteria.
The caseworker must initiate an investigation of all reports within 24 hours of receipt of the report by the department. The initiation of the investigation allows the caseworker to gain further knowledge of the situation and determine whether immediate intervention is required.
Initiation (also known as the 24-hour contact) is defined as a contact with a person who has current and reliable information about the situation.
- APS staff investigate in nursing homes only when a resident is alleged to be financially exploited by someone outside the facility or abused or neglected by someone outside the facility while the facility wasn’t responsible for the resident’s care.
- Persons under the age of 18 may be served if they have substantially impairing disabilities and have been declared to be legal adults through court order or marriage
The caseworker completes a comprehensive assessment of the alleged victim's situation. The purpose of the assessment is to determine the alleged victim's eligibility, situation and needs. The assessment process also enables the caseworker to identify and address root causes of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
When reports are validated on cases in the community and protective services are appropriate, APS caseworkers provide or arrange for services to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment. Services may be provided directly by caseworkers, through arrangements with other community resources or purchased by APS on a short-term, emergency basis.
Types of services provided include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Financial assistance for rent and utility restoration
- Social services
- Health services
- Referrals to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) for guardianship services
- Referrals to other state or community services
Texas Laws and Clients' Rights
According to the Texas Human Resources Code (HRC), Chapter 48, the protective services client has the right to:
- Refuse protective services, unless he or she is suffering from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation presenting a threat to life or physical safety and lacks the capacity to consent to receive protective services
- Receive the full protection and safety that APS can provide
- Participate in and be consulted about all decisions concerning his or her welfare, if able to do so
- Select the least restrictive of the alternatives available for meeting his or her needs
- Refuse medical treatment if it conflicts with his or her established religious beliefs and practices
- Have a court-appointed attorney ad-litem to represent his or her interests at any proceeding arising pursuant to HRC Chapter 48