Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services
The courts can order protective services for people with some disabilities who are unable to make appropriate decisions and require the protection of society. Under Wisconsin Statues the staff of the Adult Protective Services unit work with the courts, corporation counsel, law enforcement agencies, guardians, and families to see that these persons get the care and/or treatment services needed.

Ozaukee County Adult Protective Services social workers see that services are provided in the least restrictive setting possible. Progress and continued need are periodically reviewed.

Adults sometimes live and behave in ways that are unhealthy or unsafe. These behaviors may pose a danger to the individual or to others. For adults who are found to be legally incompetent and are a danger to himself or others, the Department of Human Services is obligated to provide protection and services.

For adults who are competent and act unhealthy or in unsafe ways, the Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services team encourages individuals to accept services which will result in a healthier and safer day-to-day life for themselves and others. They also assist in the guardianship process when appropriate and there is no means for the family to hire an attorney.

Guardianship & Protective Placement / Services
Chapter 54
Chapter 54 of the Statutes governs the standard and procedures for guardianship of persons who are determined to be legally incompetent due to developmental disability, serious and persistent mental illness, degenerative brain disorder, and severe dementia or other like incapacitates. A guardian may be appointed to manage an individual's medical and personal decisions and/or financial decisions. Guardianship may be limited by the court to certain functions or may cover most or all of the decisions an individual must make.

Chapter 55
Chapter 55 of the Statutes governs the protective placement / services law which focus on persons who have been declared incompetent under Chapter 54 of the Statutes, and who are in need of long-term placement in a nursing care facility or other similar facility, or who are in need of services in the community. The Long Term Support Division provides an array of adult protective services, which include: emergency protective placement, guardianship, emergency elder abuse investigations and court ordered protective placement when home care is not feasible or funding is unavailable.

In addition, assistance is provided to complete Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care. An individual's care is to be provided in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate and meets the person's needs.

Referrals are made through a variety of sources. Adult Protective Services staff will help assess the need for guardianship / protective placement or other services and assist the petitioners through the court process of obtaining guardianship for people in financial need. Otherwise a private attorney can be hired to assist with this process.

Elder & Adult-At-Risk Abuse
The Adult Protective Services unit is responsible for investigating reports of adult abuse, neglect, and self-neglect. The investigation typically begins within 24 hours of receipt, excluding weekends.

To Make a Report of Abuse or Neglect
Any person may report concerns of abuse, neglect, or self-neglect to the Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services Unit by calling 262-238-8200 or 262-284-8200. Based on the result of the investigation, services may be offered to help solve the problem. Services may be limited by funding availability.

In case of an immediate, life-threatening emergency dial 911 and request that police, fire, or an ambulance immediately respond to a life-threatening emergency.

Any report of abuse can be made anonymously. Call 262-238-8200 or 262-284-8200 to report suspected abuse or neglect of older adults and at-risk adults age 18 and over. Please call the above numbers to report suspected abuse or neglect of adults with developmental disabilities. Certain professions are mandated reporters such as social workers, teachers, physicians, nurses, etc. No one can be held civilly or criminally liable or found guilty of unprofessional conduct for reporting in good faith.

Definitions of Adults-at-Risk
An adult-at-risk is any adult aged 18 through 59 who has a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs his or her ability to care for his / her needs and who has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation. Abuse includes the following:
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Treatment without consent
  • Unreasonable confinement or restraint
Elder Adult-at-Risk
Any person, age 60 or older, who has experienced, is currently experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing abuse, neglect, neglect by caregiver, self-neglect, financial exploitation, sexual abuse, treatment without consent, or unreasonable confinement or restraint.

Examples of Abuse & Neglect
  • Emotional abuse - includes demeaning statements, harassment, isolation, or threats.
  • Financial exploitation - misuse of an elder or adult-at-risk's money or property.
  • Neglect - occurs when a caregiver's failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or dental care results in danger to the health of an elder or adult-at-risk in his or her care.
  • Physical abuse - the willful infliction of physical pain, injury, or unreasonable confinement or inflicting substantial harm to someone.
  • Self-neglect - significant danger because of the inability of the elder or adult-at-risk to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical, or dental care.
  • Sexual abuse - coercion into sexual contact against a person's will.
  • Treatment without consent - forcing a competent individual to take medication that they do not wish to take and they full understand the consequences.
Services Offered
Case Management
The Adult Protective Services social workers provide short term service coordination/case management. At times, the cases we work with are long term. Our Adult Protective Service staff also provides public education, community needs assessments, individual needs assessments, individual needs assessments and advocacy.

We also have a part-time outreach worker that is available to work one on one with the individuals served in this program. She is able to make routine home visits, help get individuals in the Adult Protective Services Program to their necessary appointments, or just be a safe person to talk to.

Personal Care Program
Ozaukee County offers limited personal care services to qualifying individuals. For more information, see our personal care program.

Homemaker Services
Ozaukee County offers limited personal care services to qualifying individuals. For more information, see our homemaker services.