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Information for APS Professionals


Legal (Statutory) Authority for Adult Protective Services in Colorado


Colorado Adult Protective Services (APS) are mandated by the civil statute entitled “Protective Services for Adults At Risk of Mistreatment and Self-Neglect.”


  • “Part 1 - Protective Services for At-risk Adults,” Section 26-3.1-101, C.R.S., et seq., defines “at-risk adults,” “mistreatment,” and “self-neglect,” lists the professional groups that are expected to report, and details reporting and investigation requirements in cases of mistreatment and self-neglect of at-risk adults.
  • “Part 2 - Protection Against Financial Exploitation of At-risk Adults,” Section 26-3.1-201, C.R.S., et seq., provides recommendations for APS and financial institutions when responding to the financial exploitation of at-risk adults.


Other Statutes Relevant to the Protection of At-risk Adults


Wrongs to At-risk Adults,” Section 18-6.5-101, C.R.S., et seq. mandates enhanced punishments for crimes against at-risk adults; provides procedures for videotaped depositions from at-risk adults; and addresses criminal neglect injurious to the physical or mental health of an at-risk adult.


Mandatory Sentences for Violent Crimes,” Section 18-1.3-406, C.R.S., et seq. mandates that “crimes of violence” against at-risk adults carry maximum prison sentences.


The “Persons Under Disability - Protection,” Section 15-14-101, C.R.S., et seq. statute clarifies the responsibilities and authority of guardians and conservators appointed by the court to act in the best interest of at-risk adults with limited decision-making capacity. Parts 3 and 4 of this statute deal directly with each of these issues and are entitled:


Title 15, Part 5 – Fiduciary Oversight, Removal, Sanctions, and Contempt (Section 15-10-501, C.R.S., et seq.) allows APS or other interested persons to write a letter to notify the Court that a fiduciary may be acting against a protected person’s best interests.  The court can then request a review of the fiduciary’s activities.


End of life medical treatment decision-making is covered within four statutes. They include:


  • Medical durable powers of attorney are defined and their authority and responsibilities clarified in Part 5 of the “Persons Under Disability - Protection ” statute. This section of the statute is entitled: “Part 5 - Powers of Attorney,” Section 15-14-501, C.R.S., et seq.
  • Colorado’s living will statute provides information about living wills and provides a form for developing a living will. The statute is entitled: “Colorado Medical Treatment Decision Act,” Section 15-18-101, C.R.S., et seq.
  • Proxy decision-makers for medical decisions are designated on behalf of hospitalized adults who lack decision-making capacity for medical decisions and who have no guardian or medical durable power of attorney. The responsibilities and authorities of proxy decision makers are defined and clarified in the Colorado statute entitled: “Proxy Decision-Makers for Medical Treatment,” Section 15-18.5-101, C.R.S., et seq.
  • Directive Relating to Cardiopulminary Resuscitation orders or CPR directives are defined and clarified in the Colorado statute entitled: Directive Relating to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation,” Section 15-18.6- 101, C.R.S., et seq.

Rules and Regulations for Implementation of the Colorado APS Program


The Colorado Department of Human Services provides rules and regulations for County Departments of Social (Human) Services in order to implement the mandates contained in the statutes that authorize protective services for at-risk adults. The rules are found in Section 12 CCR 2509-2, located in Volume 7 of the Colorado Department of Human Services Rules and Regulations.

2002 Detailed Summary of the Colorado APS Program - Footnote 108


Footnote 108 provides a comprehensive look at the APS program in Colorado. It was written in October 2002 at the request of the Colorado Legislature.

Colorado Adult Protective Services Data Summary


The Adult Protective Services Data Review includes charts illustrating caseload information, client demographics, and related information about APS in Colorado.

Additional Resources and Training Guides


Additional information on guardianships, conservatorships, powers of attorney, representative payeeships, and medical advance directives are available by clicking on the following links:


Colorado’s APS program works extensively with other service providers in an effort to provide protective services that reduce risk, insure least restrictive interventions, and minimize service duplication to at-risk adults. Examples of collaboration between APS and other professional programs essential to the safety of at-risk adults include:


Training and resource materials for county APS caseworkers, professional groups, and for community education about the at-risk adult population in Colorado have been developed by the state Adult Protective Services unit.



The Colorado Coalition of Elder Rights and Adult Protection has many educational training materials, including brochures, exhibit board displays, handouts and flyers, and educational DVD and VHS movies available for use at community education events.