ACL envisions a comprehensive, multidisciplinary system that effectively supports older adults and adults with disabilities so they can exercise their right to live where they choose, with the people they choose, and fully participate in their communities without threat of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. Adult Protective Services (APS) systems play a critical role in addressing the abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation too often faced by older adults and adults with disabilities.
ACL is committed to supporting states in developing effective APS systems that ensure adults are afforded similar protections and services, regardless of their state or jurisdiction. Historically, there has been no federal "home" for APS, nor a designated federal appropriation for this critical service. Instead, states and local agencies have developed a variety of APS practices, resulting in significant variations between and sometimes within states. Strong federal leadership in addressing maltreatment of older adults and adults with disabilities must include a commitment to bolstering and assisting the APS system in responding to victims in the most effective and consistent way possible.
ACL facilitated the development of the Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for State APS Systems to assist states in developing efficient, effective APS systems. Overall, the Guidelines are designed to provide APS Administrators with recommendations from the field about quality practice. There are several ways that states may choose to utilize the Guidelines: as a model of comparison to existing APS systems offered, to identify new areas of interest, or to identify areas for improvement in current state statutes or policies.
The Final Guidelines do not constitute any standard or regulation, and will not create any new legal obligations, nor impose any mandates or requirements. They will not create nor confer any rights for, or on, any person.
ACL intends to revisit and update the guidelines every two years. The guidelines will inform ACL on many priority APS issues that it can then focus on through other programs, including the National APS Technical Assistance Resource Center and the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System.