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.). To receive protective services, an individual must be elderly or disabled and be reported to be in a state of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Federal law requires state programs receiving federal funds to provide appropriate interpreter services to clients with limited English proficient (LEP) and sensory impairment. The APS In-Home (as revised effective May 2014) contains specific policy and procedures related to serving these individuals.
When conducting investigations involving suspected instances of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation involving individuals with LEP or impaired sensory of speaking skills the specialist:
- ensures the investigation is not subject to delays or interference with any actions necessary to protect a the individual from harm or risk of harm;
- is required to clearly identify any principles in a case in need of interpreter services; and
- documents all reasonable efforts to acquire the service in the client's case record.
When a principle in a case has limited proficiency in English, APS staff make reasonable efforts to provide information and communicate service availability to the client and alleged perpetrator(s) using:
- Bilingual DFPS staff,
- Other qualified translators, such as a speech pathologist with no conflicts of interest,
- Sign language interpreters,
- Pictures or objects and bilingual brochures,
- Communication devices, and
- Forms or other materials printed in the principle’s preferred language.
Ideally, the interpreter will be a professional trained as an interpreter or an APS specialist or supervisor fluent in the client’s preferred language. If the only option is a family member, the investigator or case worker ensures this person is not involved in the case. In investigations regarding persons with LEP served in state facilities and community centers, facility staff are not used as interpreters unless they are unrelated to the case and are qualified to provide the interpreter service.
APS efforts are intended to insure that principles with LEP or with sensory impairments understand all significant APS actions at each stage of the case, including investigation, service planning, service delivery, judicial proceedings, alternative placement, and emergency client services.
The investigator obtains interpreter services at no cost to the person served. District management ensures their staff develop local resources to provide interpreter services upon request from volunteers. If the service is not available through volunteers, the cost shall be borne by the department.
For additional information regarding LEP services please contact:
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services,
Adult Protective Services Program
P.O. Box 149030, mail code E-561
Austin, Texas 78714-9030