Adult Protective Services



Adult Protective Services (APS) is dedicated to serving vulnerable adults. We investigate reports about abuse, abandonment, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect of vulnerable adults in Washington State. We collaborate with other agencies to offer protective services as needed. Our goal is to promote lives free of harm while respecting individual choice.

What are some warning signs of adult abuse?

Warning signs may include a variety of behaviors and physical indicators that can be obvious or subtle. If you suspect abuse, report it.

Obvious Warning Signs of Adult Abuse

Subtle Warning Signs of Adult Abuse


Suspicious or unexplainable bruises, sores, or weight loss.


Behaviors or emotions

Change in normal personality.


Daily living needs

Neglect or inattention to hygiene, clothing, medication, food, or home.


Property and finances

Unexplainable financial changes or missing money and personal belongings.


Verbal aggression

Comments or statements that are intimidating, threatening, or degrading.


Individuals are kept from or are absent from normal activities with family, friends, or social events.


Missed or cancelled appointments

Regular appointments, such as medical or professional, are stopped without communication.


Sudden appearance of unknown individuals or previously uninvolved relatives

New individual(s) become involved and take over personal and financial matters.


Irrational excuses or explanations

Individual or caretaker explanation of behaviors or physical indicators don't make sense.

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Who is considered a vulnerable adult?

The State of Washington defines a vulnerable adult by law as a person who is:

  • 60 years of age or older who has the functional, mental, or physical inability to care for himself or herself; or
  • Subject to a guardianship under RCW 11.130.265 or adult subject to conservatorship under RCW 11.130.360
  • Who has a developmental disability as defined under RCW 71A.10.020; or
  • Admitted to any facility; or
  • Receiving services from home health, hospice, or home care agencies licensed or required to be licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW; or
  • Receiving services from an individual provider; or
  • Who self-directs his or her own care and receives services from a personal aide under chapter 74.39 RCW.

Not sure if someone is considered a vulnerable adult? Report your concerns anyway. We’ll take care of the rest.

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What is the process for APS investigations?

  1. Intake: When you make a report online, in person, or by phone or fax, our intake specialists gather information to begin the investigative process.
  2. Assignment: Each intake report is reviewed to determine if APS has jurisdiction and assigns an investigation time frame.
  3. Investigation: Investigations include thorough interviews, observations, record reviews, and coordination with law enforcement and other agencies as needed.
  4. Offer Services: We work with community partners to offer protective services, such as emergency shelter, food, medical care, personal assistance, counseling, and more.

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Adult Protective Services does not have the authority to:

  • Remove a client against his or her own will
  • Detain or arrest an individual
  • Act as guardianship services
  • Act as emergency response (such as law enforcement or EMT)
  • Force people to accept services

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Additional Information

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