Report abuse, neglect, and exploitation to the
Mississippi Centralized Intake Unit at
Division of Aging & Adult Services
Adult Protective Services
- About Us
The mission of the Adult Protective Services (APS) program is to protect vulnerable persons whose safety and protection may be adversely affected by abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation; raise public awareness; and educate mandated reports of their reporting responsibilities.
The 1986 Mississippi Legislature enacted the "Mississippi Vulnerable Adults Act of 1986." The Act designates the Mississippi Department of Human Services as the state Agency to conduct investigations and/or evaluations pending the receipt of a report that a vulnerable adult, residing in a private home setting, is in need of protective services. Originally, the responsibility had been organizationally assigned by MDHS' Division of Family and Children's Services. In 2006, the Mississippi Legislature passed legislation for the Division of Aging and Adult Services to employ staff for the Adult Protective Services program.
Effective July 1, 2010, the Mississippi Vulnerable Adults Act title changed to the Mississippi Vulnerable Persons Act.
*Report Vulnerable Person Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation*
Mississippi Centralized Intake Unit
Division of Aging and Adult Services
750 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
What is Adult Protective Services (APS)?
Adult Protective Services includes the process of investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable persons residing in private home settings, as well as any follow-up services provided to those vulnerable persons (by DAAS) as a result of the investigations.
In Mississippi, who oversees the APS program?
The Division of Aging and Adult Services oversees the Adult Protective Services program.
What is a Vulnerable Person?
A vulnerable person is defined in the Mississippi Vulnerable Persons Act as:
- A person eighteen (18) years of age or older or any minor whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care, protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation or improper sexual contact is impaired due to:
- mental, emotional, physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction
- brain damage, or
- the infirmities of aging
- The term "vulnerable person" also includes residents or patients, regardless of age, in a care facility.
How are reports made?
Report abuse of vulnerable persons living in the following settings to the MDHS:
- a private home setting (i.e., in his/her own home or the home of another person)
- an unlicensed personal care home with three (3) or fewer residents unrelated to the operator
- a home setting that does not require a license to operate under the Mississippi State Department of Health’s guidelines (i.e., boarding home)
Reports may be made to the MDHS toll-free Centralized Intake Unit (formerly called the Child/Vulnerable Adult Abuse/Neglect Hotline) at 1-800-222-8000.
What happens after the Centralized Intake Unit receives the report?
Reports received by the Centralized Intake Unit are electronically transmitted to the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS), Adult Protective Services regional supervisor (who covers the county where the alleged victim live). The APS supervisor reviews the report and makes the screening decision for further handling. If the report meets criteria for an APS investigation, the supervisor assigns the report to the APS worker.
Where should care facility abuse/neglect reports be made?
Report abuse occurring within licensed care facilities ex. nursing homes, personal care homes) or unlicensed personal care homes with 4 or more residents unrelated to the operator to the Mississippi State Department of Health, at 1-800-227-7308 or the Office of the Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, at 1-800-852-8341.
Under the Vulnerable Persons Act, who is considered as a mandated reporter?
The Vulnerable Persons Act mandates that any person, including but not limited to the following, who knows or suspects that a vulnerable person has been or is being abused, neglected, or exploited, shall immediately file a report:
- Attorney, physician, osteopathic physician, medical examiner, chiropractor or nurse engaged in the admission, treatment or care of a vulnerable person
- Health professional or mental health professional
- Practitioner who relies solely on spiritual means for healing
- Social worker, family protection worker, family protection specialist or other professional adult care, residential or institutional staff
- State, county or municipal criminal justice employee or law enforcement officer
- Human rights advocacy committee or long-term care ombudsman council member
- Accountant, stockbroker, financial advisor or consultant, insurance agent or consultant, investment advisor or consultant, financial planner, or any officer or employee of a bank, savings and loan, credit union or any other financial service provider.
Can a reporter remain anonymous?
Anonymous reports are accepted. However, any person or entity holding or required to hold a license as specified in Title 73, Professions and Vocations, Mississippi Code of 1972, shall be required to give his, hers or its name, address and telephone number in the report of the alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Will the reporter's name be kept confidential?
Yes, the reporter's name is kept confidential by MDHS.
What information should the reporter include in his/her report about the vulnerable person and the vulnerable person's circumstances?
To the extent possible, a report should contain, but not be limited to:
- Name, age, race, sex, physical address and location of the vulnerable person
- Name, address and telephone number of the alleged perpetrator
- Name, address and telephone number of the caregiver, if different from the alleged perpetrator
- Whether or not the vulnerable person is self-neglecting
- Description of the neglect, abuse and/or exploitation
- Description of the person's impairment to perform the normal activities of daily living (meaning, what the person can or cannot do), care for to protect self from abuse, neglect or exploitation
- Potential danger to Adult Protective Services staff who may visit the home (i.e., firearms, drugs)
What is the statutory time frame for an investigation to be initiated by MDHS?
Statutorily, investigations are required to be initiated within forty-eight (48) hours if immediate attention is needed, or within seventy-two (72) hours if vulnerable person is not in immediate danger, to determine whether the vulnerable person is in need of protective services and what services are needed. If an emergency exists, the reporter is advised to call local law enforcement.
What is the purpose of the investigation?
The purpose of the investigation is to determine the validity of the report and to assess the need for protective services. Services from the Department are intended to preserve the vulnerable person's rights with the least restrictive intrusion while maintaining his or her well-being.
Can protective services be forced upon an adult?
Protective services cannot be forced involuntarily upon a mentally capable vulnerable person.
Can MDHS criminally investigate and prosecute a perpetrator who has abused a vulnerable person?
No. MDHS does not conduct criminal investigations. However, MDHS files a preliminary report of its findings to the Office of the Attorney General, Vulnerable Adults Unit within forty-eight (48) hours if immediate attention is needed, or within seventy-two (72) hours if vulnerable person is not in immediate danger,to determine whether the vulnerable person is in need of protective services and what services are needed. MDHS makes additional reports as new information or evidence becomes available. The Vulnerable Adults Unit conducts criminal investigations and prosecutes the perpetrator who has abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable person living in a private setting. Also, MDHS is required to file a report with the local district attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s Office when there is reasonable cause to believe that a caretaker or other person has abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable person.
Types of Abuse and Indicators
Physical Abuse: beating, slapping, kicking, rough handling, or other abuse causing welts, cuts, burns, abrasions, sprains, bruises, dislocations, fractures or broken bones.
Neglect by Caregiver/Others: lack of supervision, failure to give medicine, food or personal care, not attending to bed sores.
Self-Neglect: Indicators such as inability to provide self-care (i.e. cook, eat, bath), over-medication/under-medication, untreated medical or mental conditions, aimless wandering, causing fires.
Psychological/Emotional Abuse: Indicators such as verbal threats or insults, cursing, belittling, withholding companionship or isolation.
Sexual Abuse: Indicators such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), pregnancy, bruises, bleeding, pain or itching in genital or anal areas, difficulty in walking or sitting.
Financial Abuse/Exploitation: Indicators such as mismanaging money or stealing property, savings, credit cards, unusual activity in bank accounts, misuse of assets by a representative payee.
SFY Reports 2008 through 2012
Abuse, neglect and exploitation reports of vulnerable persons continue to rise in Mississippi. The following chart shows the numbers of investigations conducted by the Adult Protective Services program.
SFY 2012 Percentages of Findings
The following chart shows the results of investigations by type of evidenced findings during SFY 2012.
Administration on Aging
Elder Justice Coalition
Helpful Resource Elder Abuse Video Links:National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
National Association of Adult Protective Services Administrators (NAPSA)
National Association of State Long Term Care Ombudsman Programs
National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
National Silver Alert
MS Department of Human Services- DAAS
MS State Department of Health
MS Attorney General's Office/Vulnerable Adults Unit and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
MS Silver Alert
Mississippi Department of Human Services
Division of Aging & Adult Services
Report Vulnerable Person Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation - 1-800-222-8000