Rowan County Department of Social Services
Protocol for the Protection of Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adults
July 1, 2009

Abuse, neglect, and exploitation of disabled adults are concerns in our community.  If you suspect a disabled adult is being mistreated or abused, it is your responsibility to call Rowan County Department of Social Services (DSS) and report your concerns immediately.  DSS’ Adult Protective Services (APS) staff will determine what actions are needed to ensure protection.  APS professionals cannot protect our community’s disabled unless you take the time to call.

How Do I Make a Report?
During regular office hours (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday), call DSS at 704-216-8330, and ask the operator to connect you with Adult Protective Services.  You may also call the APS Intake number directly at 704-216-8331.

If you feel an adult is in immediate risk of harm or death due to abuse, neglect, or exploitation, in addition to calling DSS, you should also call 911 and report your concerns to a law enforcement agency.

Outside of regular office hours, you can make a report by calling 911.  The 911 operator will put you in touch with an APS social worker.

Reports also may be made in writing to:
      Adult Protective Services
      Rowan County Department of Social Services
      1813 East Innes Street
      Salisbury, NC 28146

Confidentiality of the Reporter
DSS does not reveal the name of a person who makes a report, except in very specific circumstances in which a judge has issued a court order to reveal the name of the reporter.   
  Reporters are not required to give their name; however, it is helpful for APS to have the name of the reporter in case APS needs to contact the reporter after the initial report is made.

What Happens after I Make a Report?
After receiving the report, the APS intake worker will review the report with the supervisor to determine if the disabled adult is in need of a protective services evaluation.  If so, the APS social worker will visit the adult.  The timing of the visit will be determined based on the urgency of the situation.  Some visits are immediate, but all visits are made within 72 hours of the report.

If the report is accepted for an evaluation, the investigation will include home visits by the APS social worker and consultation with others who have knowledge of the facts of the particular case.  An interview with the disabled adult may be conducted with no other persons present.    

DSS works in collaboration with other agencies in the community such as the Health Department, VA Medical Center, Rowan Regional Medical Center, Sheriff’s Department, other law enforcement agencies, Hospice, home health agencies, and others to gather information during the investigation and to arrange for services if a need is found.
The investigation shall be completed within 30 days for allegations of abuse or neglect, and shall be completed within 45 days for allegations of exploitation.

If the report does not meet the criteria to support an APS investigation, but if issues are identified that should be addressed, the report may be accepted for Preventive Outreach services.

What are Preventive Outreach Services?
Preventive Outreach Services include a home visit by the APS social worker to address needs of the person.  The person may be offered referrals to other community organizations that may be able to assist him or her with services and assistance to meet needs.  The goal of Preventive Outreach Services is to provide services so that the person will not become a victim of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in the future.  

What Action May I Take if My Report Does Not Get the Results I Expected?
If you disagree with DSS’ actions regarding the report you made, you may contact in this order the following persons to request a higher level review of the report: the APS Supervisor, the APS Program Administrator, the DSS Director.  You may wish to make another report if you have additional information about the situation.  There is no limit on the number of reports that can be made.  However, further reports should have additional or new information that was not presented earlier.  

All reports that do not rise to the level of an investigation are always reviewed a second time at regularly scheduled APS Screening Committee meetings. Committee members reviewing these reports include the APS Supervisor, the APS Program Administrator, and the Adult Services Attorney.  The purpose of these reviews is to assure that no report was improperly screened out.

Important Telephone Numbers
Rowan County Telecommunications                                                       911

Rowan County Department of Social Services                                       704-216-8330
Rowan County Department of Social Services APS Intake Number      704-216-8331

The Protocol is in compliance with North Carolina GA 108A, Article 6.

Adult Protective Services Protocol
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