Adult Protective Services

Article 6, Chapter 108A of the North Carolina General Statutes requires that county departments of social services perform certain activities for disabled adults who are alleged to be abused, neglected or exploited and in need of protective services. In accordance with its authority under N.C. G.S. 143B-153, the North Carolina Social Services Commission has established rules and regulations for the provision of Protective Services for Adults with funds administered by the Division of Social Services

Protective Services for Adults is a multifaceted service which is based on an awareness of the vulnerability of disabled adults to abuse, neglect and exploitation. The service includes provisions in state law for evaluation of the need for protective services and intervention in situations in which adults are found to be in need of protective services. The Protective Services for Adults Statute was developed to assist adults who have disabilities which have incapacitated them so that they are unable to take care of themselves, and who have no one able or willing to assist them with the care they need.

These adults may be abused or neglected by a caretaker, they may be neglecting themselves, or they may be exploited. They may be alone, or they may have a spouse, other relative or unrelated person acting as caretaker. They may live in private homes, residential care facilities, state institutions or other types of living arrangements. They may be old or young, male or female, rich or poor.


The protective services evaluation may be initiated without the consent of the adult. In this respect, protective services differs from other services which are provided only on request. The involuntary nature of the evaluation component of the service, as well as the vulnerability of the population, make consideration of ethical issues especially important. The following basic principles should be adhered to in the practice of adult protective services (hereafter referred to as APS).

As long as adults can recognize the consequences of decisions they have made about their lives, their right to make those decisions must be respected. A disabled adult has the right to make bad choices and poor decisions, to be eccentric, to live in a filthy environment or to refuse medical treatment


  • Abuse is statutorily defined as the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish,unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain mental and physical health.
  • Caretaker shall mean an individual who has the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult as a result of family relationship or who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult voluntarily or by contract.
  • Disabled Adult is "any person 18 years of age or over or any lawfully emancipated minor who is present in the state of North Carolina and who is physically or mentally incapacitated due to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or autism; organic brain damage caused by advanced age or other physical degeneration in connection therewith; or due to conditions incurred at any age which are the result of accident, organic consumption or absorption of substances.”
  • Exploitation refers to illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for anothers profit or advantage. Financial exploitation is not the only type that should be considered. Examples of other types of exploitation include sexual exploitation and forcing a disabled adult to work without pay.
  • Neglect refers to a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for himself the services which are necessary to maintain his mental or physical health or is not receiving the services from his caretaker. This type of neglect is referred to as self neglect or caretaker neglect.

Additional Information

Please contact Adult Services unit at 336-849-7910, if you need additional information on Adult Protective Services. Ask for the adult service intake worker.


If you need to make an Adult Protective Services Report please contact:

  • Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm: 336-849-7910 and ask to speak with the intake social worker.
  • After 5pm, weekends, or on holidays: Yadkin County Sherrif's Department 336-849-4217 and ask to speak with the APS Social Worker on call.