Long-term services and supports (LTSS) manual

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

Revised Date: 
October 7, 2019

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 Mandated Reporters

For more information on Mandated Reporter Timing

Mandated Reporting

  1. When a mandated reporter has reasonable cause to believe that abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect of a vulnerable adult has occured, he or she must immediately submit a report to the department.
  2. Suspected sexual assault shall immediately be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency and to the department.
  3. If suspected physical assault has occurred, or there is reasonable cause to believe that an act has caused fear of imminent harm, a report shall immediately be reported to the department, and law enforcement. There are circumstances where a report to law enforcement is not required, see RCW 74.34.035.
  4. A mandated reporter is not required by statute to report self-neglect by a vulnerable adult. However, reporting is encouraged to facilitate possible intervention.
    1. Report by phone:

      1-877-734-6277*

      (TTY) 1-800-977-5456

      *Until November 1, 2019, report to Region 1 APS with 1-800-459-0421 or (TTY) 509-568-3086. Region 1 counties are Adams, Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Columbia, Douglas, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Kittitas, Klickitat, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Walla Walla, Whitman, Yakima.

    2. Report online 

Mandated Reporters

A "mandated reporter" is:

  1. An employee of the department;
  2. Law enforcement officer;
  3. Social worker;
  4. Professional school personnel;
  5. Individual provider;
  6. An employee of a facility* (generally, a setting licensed by the department);
  7. An operator of a facility* (generally, a setting licensed by the department);
  8. An employee of a social service, welfare, mental health, adult day health, adult day care, home health, home care, or hospice agency;
  9. County coroner or medical examiner;
  10. Christian Science practitioner; or
  11. Health care provider subject to chapter 18.130 RCW.

*For definition of "facility," see RCW 74.34.020

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

Failure of a Mandated Reporter to Make an APS report

A person who is required to make a report under this chapter and who knowingly fails to make the report is guilty of a gross misdemeanor. RCW 74.34.053

Report Confidentiality and Immunity

Unless there is a judicial proceeding or the person consents, the identity of the person making the report under this section is confidential.

A court or presiding officer in an administrative proceeding may order disclosure of confidential information only if the court, or presiding officer in an administrative proceeding, determines that disclosure is essential to the administration of justice and will not endanger the life or safety of the vulnerable adult or individual who made the report.

A person participating in good faith in making a report under this chapter or testifying about alleged abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, or self-neglect of a vulnerable adult is in judicial or administrative proceeding under this chapter is immune from liability resulting from the report or testimony. The making of permissive reports as allowed in this chapter does not create any duty to report and no civil liability shall attach for any failure to make a permissive report as allowed under this chapter.