Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Adult Protective Services (PA-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.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
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

PA-APS 4.01

The agency maintains a 24-hour hotline to receive reports directly, or through other community agencies, 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.

PA-APS 4.02

Reporters are informed about:
  1. the agency'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 agency 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

PA-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 agency 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

PA-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

PA-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.