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Protect Texas Adults By Adult Protective Services

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Who We Protect

APS helps vulnerable adults.

Adult Protective Services, or APS, helps vulnerable adults who face abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. These adults must be:

  • age 65 or older; or
  • age 18 to 64 with a disability that substantially impairs their ability to live independently or care for themselves.

APS approaches all clients with compassion and respect and strives to give them the best possible support and resources. APS seeks the least restrictive alternative in all situations.

APS investigates allegations involving individuals. We do not investigate situations in nursing facilities or licensed group homes. If you suspect abuse or neglect of someone living in a nursing facility or licensed group home, call Texas Health and Human Services at 1-800-252-5400.

APS helps vulnerable adults age 65 or older, who face abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation and strives to give their clients the best possible support to help keep them safe.

How We Help

APS cannot force services on someone who does not want them. We cannot force an adult to leave his or her home unless it's an emergency that threatens the adult's life or safety and he or she lacks the capacity (as determined by a medical doctor) to make decisions. If the adult is unable to give consent, the APS caseworker may ask a court to issue an Emergency Order of Protective Services, and may refer the adult to the Texas Health and Human Services Guardianship Program if needed.

If the adult has the capacity to consent and agrees to protective services, then he or she can:

  • Get voluntary protective services.
  • Take part in all decisions about his or her welfare.
  • Pick the least restrictive option that meets his or her needs.
  • Refuse medical treatment.
Each APS client is different so a specific service plan is created for each one.

Adults 18 to 64 Years Old Who Have a Disability

Adults qualify for APS Services if they have a mental, physical, intellectual, or developmental disability that substantially impairs their ability to live independently.

Adults who are able to live independently can:

  • Use a phone.
  • Shop.
  • Cook or prepare food.
  • Clean their home.
  • Manage their medications.
  • Dress in clothes that are appropriate for the weather.
  • Arrange for medical services, support services, or transportation.
  • Prevent harm to themselves or others.
  • Ask for help to resolve issues that threaten their well-being.

Other signs of independence include:

  • Provide shelter for themselves.
  • Obtain food and drink to sustain themselves.
  • Feed themselves.
  • Manage their finances.
  • Communicate their needs.
  • Recognize threats to health and safety.
APS works with community partners to ensure all clients have the support and resources they need.

If an adult is unable or unwilling to perform one or more of these activities or can only do them with direction or support from others, then he or she may be unable to live independently.

APS helps adults with a disability who cannot live independently.

Note: A person is automatically considered substantially impaired when he or she has been diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability, has an IQ below 70, has a legal guardian, or has qualified for certain Medicaid waiver programs.

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Below are examples of adults with a disability who have received APS services.

APS helps adults with a disability who have a substantial impairment that prohibits them to live independently.


Rupert is a 56-year-old man who has ALS, an illness that affects his brain and spinal cord, that is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. He is quickly getting worse and can't do simple tasks to care for himself.

Rupert qualifies for APS help because:

  • He has a health condition that has resulted in a disability.
  • His ability to live independently and take care of himself is limited and getting worse.
  • His condition is long-term.
Texas law requires that suspected cases of abuse be reported.


Brittany is a 32-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with a mental disorder. She has delusions and paranoia. Her house is filthy, and she doesn't bathe. She believes the food her family gives to her is poisoned. She has lost a lot of weight in just a few months. She has a psychiatrist but does not keep her appointments.

Brittany qualifies for APS help because:

  • She has a diagnosis of mental illness, which has resulted in a disability.
  • She is not able to care for herself.
  • Her condition is long-term.

Read more stories about ways APS has helped protect those in need.

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