Long-term services and supports (LTSS) manual

Adult abuse and neglect reporting - Adult Protective Services (APS)

Revised Date: 
November 15, 2011

Purpose: To explain what is Adult Protective Services and how to refer to APS.

Clarifying Information

APS Reporting Requirements and Information

For more information on Mandatory Reporters

For more information on Mandatory Reporter Training

Mandated Reporting of Abuse of Vulnerable Adults

  1. When a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to believe that abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occurred, he or she must immediately submit a report to the department. (Some types of contact between vulnerable adults are not required to be reported to law enforcement, but must still be reported to DSHS - see RCW 74.34 for details.) Suspected sexual abuse must also be reported to law enforcement.
    1. If the allegation involves a vulnerable adult living in their own home, call the local or Regional APS Intake line to make a report.
      Regions Counties APS intake #
      1 Spokane, Grant, Okanogan, Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Lincoln, Ferry, Stevens Whitman, Pend Oreille, Yakima, Kittitas, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, Asotin, Klickitat 1-800-459-0421
      TTY: 509-568-3086
      2 King, Snohomish, Skagit, Island, San Juan, Whatcom 1-866-221-4909
      TTY 1-800-977-5456
      3 Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Skamania, Clark 1-877-734-6277
      TTY 1-800-672-7091
    2. Call the RCS Complaint Resolution Unit (CRU) toll free at 1-800-562-6078 (TTY= 1-800-737-7931) if the allegation involves a vulnerable adult living in a residential facility (nursing home, adult family home, boarding home, soldier’s home, residential habilitation center) or a certified supported living/SOLA setting and the alleged perpetrator is an owner, operator, employee, volunteer, or resident of the facility. When the alleged perpetrator is not in one of these categories, call the appropriate APS regional Intake number above.
  2. A mandated reporter is not required by statute to report self-neglect by a vulnerable adult. However, reporting is encouraged to facilitate possible intervention.
  3. Vulnerable adult reporting is mandatory for all:
  • Employees of the department;
  • Law enforcement officers;
    Social workers;
  • Professional school personnel;
    Individual providers (defined in RCW 74.34 as a person under contract to provide services in the home under RCW 74.09 or 74.39A.);
  • Employees or operators of any facility required to be licensed by the department (boarding home, nursing home, adult family home, soldiers’ home, residential habilitation center);
  • Employees of a social service, welfare, mental health, adult day health, adult day care home health, home care, or hospice agency;
    County coroners or medical examiners;
  • Christian Science practitioners; and
  • Health care providers subject to Chapter 18.130 RCW. (Includes, but is not limited to: physicians, physician’s assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, psychologists, podiatrists, dentists, nursing home administrators, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, EMT, paramedics, counselors, naturopaths, nursing assistants, dietitians, massage therapists, radiology technologists, etc.).

 Note: All department employees are also mandated to report suspected child abuse and neglect (See RCW 26.44.030). To make a report, call toll free1-866-EndHarm (1-866-363-4276) or the local Child Protective Services (CPS ) office

Failure of a Mandated Reporter to Make an APS report

Failure to make a mandated report or knowingly making a false report is a gross misdemeanor. RCW 74.34

Report Confidentiality and Immunity

  1. APS will attempt to maintain reporter confidentiality to the extent legally possible and will not release the reporter’s identity unless:
    1. The reporter consents to disclosure; or
    2. Disclosure is permitted or required by law, examples include:
      • Judicial proceedings (e.g., if the alleged perpetrator asks for a hearing to challenge an APS finding); or
      • APS makes a referral or provides case information to other agencies authorized to investigate the matter (e.g., law enforcement, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, DOH, Health Professions Quality Assurance Division, etc).
  2. Persons who report in good faith and/or testify about alleged abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation or self-neglect are not in violation of confidential communication privileges and are immune from liability as a result of the report or testimony.