Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Adult Protective Services (PA-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 agency does not conduct investigations.
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
  • 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

PA-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

PA-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

PA-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

PA-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.