The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and the Department of Economic Security (DES) are pleased to announce the release of the Adult Protective Services (APS) Action Plan. APS is a DES program that has the authority to receive and assess reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults. On January 23, DES and ADHS held a stakeholder meeting to engage vulnerable individuals, their families, and the organizations that support them to develop a vision for the future and identify existing gaps.

More than 160 attendees participated in the APS Stakeholder Meeting and reviewed current data and process improvement activities, developed draft strategies, and proposed actions for the development of the APS Action Plan. The agenda and presentations shared during the APS Stakeholder Meeting can be found on our website.

Through nine recommendations, the new Action Plan sets a goal to improve the adult protective services system in Arizona by:

  • Streamlining resources for investigations and substantiation;

  • Improving reporting quality;

  • Increasing awareness of, and access to, community resources; and

  • Leveraging data sharing opportunities.

Some of the strategies we would like to highlight include recommendations to:

  • Establish a Social Services Rapid Response Team to quickly identify needs for services or resources in response to APS’ high number of reports of self-neglect;

  • Identify cross-training and streamlining opportunities among state agencies for improved investigation and data sharing;

  • Develop and implement outreach for partners on the entire investigation, substantiation, and service referral process as this was emphasized as an existing gap in the system;

  • Identify legislative recommendations by convening a Legislative Recommendations Workgroup with a focus on high impact priorities; and

  • Establish a Vulnerable Adult Portal as an entry point for state-wide resources that also will host a community connection platform of live local resources.

Each recommendation identified in the Plan includes action items to be completed in 2020 along with performance measures to track improvements. We will share highlights of progress on the Arizona APS Action Plan website and continuously involve stakeholders during the implementation of the Plan.

Thank you to the state-wide partners who participated by providing valuable feedback during the collaborative APS Stakeholder Meeting! We look forward to engaging with stakeholders state-wide to strengthen partnerships within our communities to best serve vulnerable adults in Arizona.