In 1980, the Arizona Legislature passed the Adult Protective Services Act to provide protection for vulnerable adults who are 18 years of age or older. This law gave the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), Adult Protective Services program (APS), the authority to receive and assess reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 46-451 and § 46-452 establishes the roles and responsibilities of an APS professional and authorizes APS to investigate allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. A vulnerable adult is defined as someone 18 years and older who is unable to protect themselves due to a physical or mental impairment or a court has deemed incapacitated (A.R.S. § 14-5101). APS investigates these reports to determine whether the adult is vulnerable and in need of protective and supportive community services and whether the allegations occurred. APS also responds to reports of self-neglect -- when a vulnerable adult is alleged to be unable to meet their minimum basic needs due to a physical or mental impairment.
The APS program launched a public-facing dashboard in State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021 to increase transparency and timely access to APS data. The dashboard includes data on allegations, caseload, alleged perpetrators, demographics, communications, and reporting sources. The State Fiscal Year (SFY) runs from July 1 to June 30 of each year.
APS data is updated monthly and is subject to change due to additional information obtained over the course of an investigation. Variations in data can be the result of:
APS has undergone reporting changes over time, so trend comparisons may not be entirely comparable. Client-specific, personally identifying information is withheld due to confidentiality requirements.
In SFY 2018, APS was awarded a grant to strengthen its use of data and technology. This was to replace the outdated, web-based system that had been in use for more than ten years. The new cloud-based solution allows APS to have an operationally efficient system allowing better workflow, visibility, and more robust reporting capabilities.