To make a report of suspected mistreatment, exploitation, or self-neglect of an at-risk adult, call the APS intake number for the County Department of Human/Services where the at-risk adult lives.
Adult Protective Services Program
Adult Protective Services offers protective services to prevent, reduce, or eliminate the current or potential risk of mistreatment, exploitation, or self-neglect to the at-risk adult using community based services and resources, health care services, family and friends when appropriate, and other support systems.
The County Department receives reports of mistreatment, exploitation, and or self-neglect of at-risk adults and determines the need for an investigation or assessment. If the County determines that the report involves an at-risk adult and mistreatment, exploitation, or self-neglect then further an investigation will be initiated.
In the Colorado Adult Protective Service statute (law) an “at-risk" adult means an individual eighteen years or older who is susceptible to mistreatment because he/she is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for his/her health, safety, or welfare; or, who lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his/her person or affairs”.
Exploitation means taking an at-risk adult’s money or other assets against their will or without their knowledge. It also means deceiving, harassing, intimidating, or using undue influence to get the adult to do something against their will.
Caretaker Neglect occurs when an at-risk adult’s caretaker fails to make sure the adult has adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, or supervision.
Physical Abuse is hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, burning, confining, or restraining an at-risk adult.
Sexual Abuse is sexual activity or touching without the at-risk adult’s consent or understanding.
Self-Neglect occurs when an at-risk adult cannot or does not care for himself or herself. Choice of lifestyle, by itself, is not proof of self-neglect.
Who Should Report
All Colorado citizens are urged to immediately report suspected mistreatment of an at-risk adult. Certain occupational groups are urged by state law to report mistreatment of an at-risk adult to Adult Protective Services, including:
• Physicians, surgeons, physicians’ assistants, osteopaths, physicians in training,
• Podiatrists, dentists, chiropractors;
• Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse practitioners;
• Hospital and long-term care facility personnel engaged in the admission, care, or treatment of patients;
• Emergency medical service providers;
• Occupational therapists, physical therapists,
• Medical examiners and coroners;
• Psychologists and other mental health professionals;
• Social work practitioners;
• Clergy members;
• Law enforcement officials and personnel;
• Fire protection personnel;
• Court appointed guardians and conservators;
• Personnel of banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, and other lending or financial institutions;
• Community-centered board staff;
• A caretaker, staff member, or employee of or volunteer or consultant for a licensed or certified care facility, agency, home, or governing board, including but not limited to home health providers; and
• A caretaker, staff member, employee, or a volunteer or consultant for, a home care placement agency, as defined in Section 25-27.5-102(5), C.R.S.
How to Make a Report of Suspected Mistreatment
When making a report to Adult Protective Services, provide as much information as possible about the at-risk adult and the alleged perpetrator including:
• The adult’s demographic information, such as name, gender, date of birth, or approximate age, address, current location if different from permanent address, and phone number;
• Medical and/or disabling condition(s);
• Contact information for friends, family, neighbors, or caregivers;
• Specific concerns regarding the alleged mistreatment;
• Safety concerns for the adult;
• The alleged perpetrators information, such as name, gender, address, phone number and relationship to the at-risk adult, when mistreatment is alleged.
APS Principles-Consent, Self-Determination, and Least Restrictive Intervention
Caseworkers do not need a client's consent to conduct an investigation. But, at-risk adults do have the right to refuse services that may improve their safety. If services are refused and the county APS program believes that the adult retains decision-making capacity, no further action is taken. Adults who consent to services can help determine which services they would like and which they would rather not have.
Protective services provided to and other services arranged for the at-risk adult must be the least restrictive intervention and for the shortest duration and to the minimum extent necessary to meet the needs of the at-risk adult.
If the at-risk adult refuses protective services and the county APS program has significant concerns about the at-risk adult’s capacity and the at-risk adult is at risk for harm, the County Department may intervene as necessary to provide for the immediate safety and health of the client.
All information pertaining to the at-risk adult’s case is confidential, including the identity of the reporter(s).
Liability of the Reporter
Persons making a report of mistreatment of an at-risk adult in good faith are immune from civil or criminal liability unless they are the perpetrator. Reporters who knowingly make a false report may be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $750 fine, or both.
After a Report is Made
After a report is received by the County Department the county may determine:
• That an APS investigation will not take place because the adult is not an at-risk adult or because the allegations do not meet the definition of mistreatment, exploitation, or self-neglect. Information is provided to the reporter about other resources/services.
• That an APS investigation is necessary and the county will investigate the mistreatment allegation(s).
APS Statute - APS Statute
APS Rules - Volume 30
If you are a mandatory reporter and need to make a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk elder, please notify law enforcement. Do not report of abuse, neglect or exploitation to email@example.com, doing so could result in a delayed response and does not meet your obligation under the law.
If you need to make a report of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an at-risk adult, please contact the County Department in which the at-risk adult resides. (APS Intake Contacts) Do not report of abuse, neglect or exploitation to firstname.lastname@example.org as it could result in a delayed response.