See the APS flow chart to see how a report is received—from when a report is made through the investigation, and what happens after.
When making a report to APS, the reporter will be asked the following questions:
- Provide any personal identifying information
- How is the adult vulnerable? (What physical or mental impairment prevents the adult from protecting themselves?)
- Description and date of when the suspected abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) or exploitation happened
- Witnesses to the suspected abuse
- The alleged perpetrator (or person accused of the crime) and any identifying or location information
- Significant others and/or caregivers
- Any safety concerns for an APS investigator when visiting the home (i.e. aggressive animals, weapons, diseases, etc.)
During the investigation
The purpose of an APS investigation is to verify through personal contact, the vulnerable adult’s physical and mental status, along with how they live, their support system (family and friends), and strengths. The allegations of abuse, exploitation, or neglect (including self-neglect) are investigated and a plan is created with the help of the vulnerable adult or the vulnerable adult’s representative.
Often, people who report believe that because they made the report to APS, they are entitled to the investigation status; however, this is not true. The person who reports does not receive updates throughout the investigation. APS report information is confidential and can only be released under the exceptions provided under A.R.S. § 46-460.
After a report is made
- Once received and processed, any report meeting the criteria for an investigation (abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation of a vulnerable adult) will be forwarded to the local APS field office for investigation. If your report is not sent to a local APS field office for investigation, then the information you provided did not meet the criteria for an APS investigation according to Arizona Revised Statutes; however, your concern will be documented in the APS database system.
- In-person contact response time will be made in one to five business days.
- APS works closely with law enforcement and if a determination is made that the mistreatment rises to the level of a crime, the alleged perpetrator (or person accused of the crime) could be arrested. Those decisions are not made by APS, but law enforcement.
- While the person who reports does not receive updates during the investigation, they do receive a letter at the close of the report letting them know the outcome of the investigation (A.R.S. § 46-458). If the report is submitted for substantiation, the reporter is mailed a letter if the alleged perpetrator is requesting a hearing. At this time, the reporter has an opportunity to provide any additional information. If the alleged perpetrator is placed on the APS registry, the reporter will also receive a letter verifying the placement.