Standards for private organizations

2020 Edition

Adult Protective Services (APS) 5: Investigation and Risk Assessment

An investigation is completed in a timely and efficient manner to determine if the reported abuse, neglect, or exploitation has occurred and if services are needed to keep the individual safe.
NA The organization does not conduct investigations.
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
  • Investigation procedures
  • Assessment procedures
  • Copy of assessment tools
  • Procedures for safety management plans
  • Data on the timeliness of initial visits, assessments, and completion of investigations, if available
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Persons served
  • Review case records

Fundamental Practice

APS 5.01

The investigator visits the home of the individual at least once during the investigation process and conducts interviews with the reporter, collateral contacts, and all members of the family.

Fundamental Practice

APS 5.02

Persons served participate in an individualized, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment that is:
  1. completed within established timeframes;  
  2. updated as needed based on the needs of persons served; and
  3. focused on information pertinent for meeting service requests and objectives.


The Assessment Matrix - Private, Public, Canadian, Network determines which level of assessment is required for COA’s Service Sections. The assessment elements of the Matrix can be tailored according to the needs of specific individuals or service design.

Fundamental Practice

APS 5.03

The investigator completes a report based on the reason for the initial report, that includes, but is not limited to:
  1. physical safety;
  2. capacity for making decisions;
  3. perpetrator factors;
  4. how the person is being affected by the situation;
  5. individual, family, and environmental factors; and
  6. if the adult is in danger, in need of protection, or should be removed immediately.

Fundamental Practice

APS 5.04

Appropriate action is taken when the need arises, that include:
  1. legal or law enforcement intervention;
  2. the arrangement for guardianship, conservatorship, commitment, or fiduciary responsibility for persons served;
  3. securing an alternative living arrangement;  
  4. obtaining resources or services immediately when there are unmet basic needs;
  5. initiating a safety management plan when there are concerns about the individual's safety; or
  6. withdrawal from the case and provision of referrals.