By REBECCA HAZEN
Members of Dade First-Family Connection learned about Adult Protective Services from Amber Allen, Northwest Georgia Regional Supervisor, during the collaborative meeting on Thursday, Jan. 27.
Adult Protective Services (APS) is part of the Georgia Department of Human Services. The purpose of APS is to receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The APS provides interventions to reduce risk of further abuse, neglect, and exploitation. According to Allen, APS receives about 10 cases a month from Dade County.
“Our vision is stronger families for a stronger Georgia,” Allen said.
To file a report with APS, the person must be a disabled adult aged 18 or older, or an elderly person aged 65 and older. The person must be alleged to be harmed or threatened with harm, and unable to protect themselves. They cannot be a resident of a long-term care facility.
“We get called to investigate all kinds of situations. Financial exploitation, self-neglect, physical neglect, verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, we get all of them,” Allen said.
An abuser will isolate the victim from other family and friends, attempt to answer for the victim, and blame the victim for being clumsy or difficult.
The abuser will want to be present for all interviews, be charming, helpful, and friendly, and try to use the system to their advantage and against the victim.
“Sometimes the abuser will act differently than the abuser of a child,” Allen said. “It can be hard to identify.”
There are certain professions that are mandated to make reports, but anyone can make a report, including a loved one, a neighbor or friend. All reports remain confidential.
Those who are required to report include physicians, law enforcement, pharmacists, physical therapists, social workers, and any employee of a facility providing professional health related services.
All reports go to APS Central Intake Specialists. The specialists determine if the situation meets the criteria for investigation.
To provide a helpful report, the person reporting should provide basic information and demographics, diagnostic information, and names and contact numbers.
“Each person and case is unique. Client interests and autonomy is our priority,” Allen said.
To report abuse, neglect, and exploitation in the community, call 1-866-552-4464. Business hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Also during the meeting, Martha Baker, Coordinator of Dade First-Family Connection announced that, after two years of not having event, there will be a Blue Ribbon Glow Run on April 22. The gates will open at 8 p.m. and the race will start at 9 p.m. The event will take place at the Dade County High School track. The Glow Run raises awareness for child abuse.
Baker also noted that each of the children at the Dade County Head Start was provided books through the Ferst Readers Foundation. Children enrolled in Ferst Readers receive a new book every month in the mail until their fifth birthday.
“We can take donations from groups, individuals, whoever would like to give. The teachers and the kids really look forward to getting these books. It would not be possible without funding from Resilient Georgia,” Baker said.
Dade First-Family Connection is a local collaborative of individuals, families, governments, education systems, businesses, medical facilities, social agencies, civic groups, etc., who meet to share information and resources to strengthen the lives of Dade County families and children.
The next First Family Connection meeting will be Feb. 24.