Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adult Protective Services (APS) 4: Screening

Reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation are promptly screened.
2020 Edition




Adult Protective Services protect vulnerable adults from exploitation, neglect, and abuse.
All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, as indicated by full implementation of the practices outlined in the Practice Standards.
Practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality; or
  • Procedures need strengthening; or
  • With few exceptions, procedures are understood by staff and are being used; or
  • For the most part, established timeframes are met; or
  • Proper documentation is the norm and any issues with individual staff members are being addressed through performance evaluations and training; or
  • Active client participation occurs to a considerable extent.
Practice requires significant improvement, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards. Service quality or program functioning may be compromised; e.g.,
  • Procedures and/or case record documentation need significant strengthening; or
  • Procedures are not well-understood or used appropriately; or
  • Timeframes are often missed; or
  • Several client records are missing important information; or
  • Client participation is inconsistent. 
Implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all, as noted in the ratings for the Practice Standards; e.g.,
  • No written procedures, or procedures are clearly inadequate or not being used; or 
  • Documentation is routinely incomplete and/or missing.      
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Access line information/ publication materials
  • Screening procedures
  • Decision making criteria for reviewing reports
  • Materials provided to the public that describe how to report abuse and neglect
  • Coverage schedule
  • Data on the timeliness of screening, if available
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

APS 4.01

The organization maintains a 24-hour hotline to receive reports directly, or through other community organizations, and trained personnel are available 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies.
Examples: In a small community with limited resources, a collaborative arrangement for the planned use of public safety resources may be used to meet this need.


APS 4.02

Reporters are informed about:
  1. the organization’s responsibilities, including protection of the reporter’s identity;
  2. the process used to screen and investigate reports and the role of the reporter in this process;
  3. the types of services or interventions the organization can provide; 
  4. the result of the screening or investigation, unless prohibited by law or court order; and
  5. whether the reporter can have an ongoing role in the screening or investigation process.

Fundamental Practice

APS 4.03

The individual:
  1. takes an active role in screening and in subsequent decision making; and
  2. is informed of his or her rights, including the right to refuse service as long as the individual has the capacity to understand the consequences of refusal.


The organization will sometimes file a court petition when personnel have determined that the person is in imminent danger. In such cases, the individual's right to self-determination is respected to the fullest extent possible.

Fundamental Practice

APS 4.04

Screening procedures address:
  1. critical indicators or risk factors in abuse and neglect;  
  2. prevention of abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and 
  3. the appropriate level of response for individual cases.

Fundamental Practice

APS 4.05

The protective service worker promptly reviews the report, conducts an initial screening including a review of safety and risk factors, and:
  1. identifies priority cases;
  2. reports to other authorities or initiates court action when required; and
  3. determines if the case will be screened out within 24 hours, referred to other providers for an alternative response, or assigns it for investigation.