Washington State Law

The Washington State Legislature passed the “Abuse of Vulnerable Adults” law in 1984. The law (RCW 74.34) mandates the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to investigate the abuse, abandonment, neglect, and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.

The administration within DSHS responsible for the investigation of vulnerable adult mistreatments is Aging and Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA).

Within ALTSA, Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates allegations of vulnerable adult mistreatments when the vulnerable adult lives in the community, nursing homes, boarding homes, or adult family homes.

The law also mandates certain professionals and citizens, called mandatory reporters, to report the suspected abuse, abandonment, neglect, or financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

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