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Frequently Asked Questions

Adult Protective Services (APS) is the Program in the Department of Human Services that helps adults who need help taking care of themselves, and who may be experiencing abuse, self-neglect, or financial exploitation

Oklahoma law requires APS to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation. A specially trained APS specialist will interview the person receiving care, the person providing care, and others who have information about the situation. Each interview will be private and confidential, as required by law. The APS specialist is authorized by law to take pictures and obtain written records. The APS specialist may involve local law enforcement if necessary, and local law enforcement may conduct its own investigation to determine if crimes have been committed.

When an APS specialist investigates a case and concludes the report is not true, a letter is sent to the known caretakers, guardians and next of kin advising of the results of the investigation.

The APS specialist will develop a plan with the adult who needs protective services. The APS specialist may also work with the caretaker, guardian or next of kin in developing the plan.

The purpose of every plan is to ensure vulnerable adults live safely with dignity and respect.  APS may petition the district court for a temporary guardianship to provide immediate involuntary services to preserve a person’s life, health or resources when the person is determined to lack the capacity to consent.  If the court grants temporary guardianship, the APS specialist will inform the caretaker, legal guardian or next of kin how to contact the person, if contact is allowed by the court.  APS is required by law to report summary findings to the caretaker, legal guardian or next of kin. The local district attorney’s office will receive a full report.

APS respects the right of every vulnerable adult to choose for themselves what services they will accept.  The court can order the caretaker, guardian or next of kin to allow the service plan to be implemented. The court can also restrict visitation if necessary. If APS petitions the court for temporary guardianship, a caretaker, guardian or next of kin may voice their opinions and concerns to the judge at the court hearing.

Oklahoma’s Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act (Title 43A section 10-104 requires any person having reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is suffering from abuse, neglect, or exploitation to make a report as soon as the person is aware of the situation. 

Oklahoma’s Protective Services for Vulnerable Adults Act (Title 43A sections 10-101-112) requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to make a prompt and thorough investigation of reports of alleged abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults to determine whether the vulnerable adult wants or needs protective services.  The Act also requires DHS to provide services to those found in need of protection either on the basis of VOLUNTARY consent, or, if the adult is not legally able to give consent, by court order.

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