Adult Protective Services Unit

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Adult Protective Services Unit, Minnesota Department of Human Services

It is the policy of the state of Minnesota to provide safe environments and services for vulnerable adults and to provide protective services for vulnerable adults who have been maltreated. The Adult Protective Services unit provides training, consultation and case specific assistance to citizens, service providers, counties, law enforcement and state agencies regarding the Minnesota Vulnerable Adult Act [Minnesota Statute Section 626.557 (1995)]. In addition to consultation and education, the unit develops policy, best practices, and collects and evaluates data for the prevention of maltreatment and service planning for the protection of vulnerable adults.

Additional Information about Adult Protection:
Adult Protection Executive Summary 2-page fact sheet (PDF)

Adult Protection Fact Sheet (PDF)

Adult Protective Services keeps an aggregate statewide database on maltreatment reports. Adult Protection Data Reports

Who is a Vulnerable Adult, What is Maltreatment?

A vulnerable adult can be any person over age 18 who:

  • • Has a physical, mental or emotional disability that makes it difficult for the person to care for themselves or to protect themselves from maltreatment
  • • Is in a hospital, nursing home, transitional care unit, assisted living, housing with services, board and care, foster care or other licensed care
  • • Receives services such as home care, day services, personal care attendant/PCA, employment training, treatment for mental illness, etc.
  • There are three basic kinds of maltreatment:

  • • Abuse – physical, emotional or sexual
  • • Neglect – The vulnerable person does not have necessary food, shelter, clothing, health care or supervision due to neglect by a caregiver, or because the vulnerable adult cannot meet their own needs.
  • • Financial exploitation – the vulnerable adult’s money, assets or property are not used for their benefit or are stolen or kept from them.
  • Reporting Suspected Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults

    Minnesota encourages good faith reporting of suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults by any person. The identity of reporters is confidential and cannot be released without a court order. Reports of suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult are made to the common entry point (CEP) in the county where the vulnerable adult is located. Each county has established a common entry point to take reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CEP phone numbers are available from the Senior Linkage Line 1-800-333-2433 or through County Phone Directory for Reporting Vulnerable Maltreatment

    Reports made to the CEP are evaluated for need for immediate protective services. Reports which allege a crime are referred to law enforcement. All reports of suspected maltreatment are referred to the lead investigative agency responsible for responding to the report. Lead investigative agencies are: Counties, Minnesota Department of Health, and Minnesota Department of Human Services

    Mandated Reporter Training:

    Some professionals are required to report suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult. Online Mandated Reporter Training provides training on state statute and the duties of mandated reporters. It is available to any interested person.

    Agencies Responsible for Protection:

    Specific licensed professionals and licensed providers have responsibilities to report suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults. County agencies, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota Department of Health, law enforcement, medical examiners and ombudsman all have responsibilities for response to reports of suspected maltreatment. Counties provide protective services to maltreated vulnerable adults.

    Each county has their own adult protection unit which is responsible for investigating complaints and providing protective services in their community. State agencies investigate complaints that occur in licensed residences or are tied to a licensed service. Law enforcement units coordinate with state and local units to investigate maltreatment reports that contain allegations of criminal activity.

    Guidelines to the Investigation of Vulnerable Adult Maltreatment

    The Adult Protection Manual provides policy and procedures for county staff as required in MS626.557 Vulnerable Adult Act and MN Rule 9555.7100-9555.7700.

    The Minnesota Vulnerable Adult Act outlines protection and investigation responsibilities for agencies responsible to protect maltreated vulnerable adults and investigate suspected maltreatment.

    Structured Decision Making Tool in Adult Protection

    Minnesota statutes 626.557, subd. 10, requires county social service agencies to assess and offer emergency and continuing protective services in response to reports of suspected maltreatment made to the common entry point. Counties use a standardized tool, in combination with the county's established prioritization guidelines, when making decisions regarding protective services and report investigation. The process used in the structured decision making process is found in the "Guidelines and Procedures Manual" of the "Structured Decision Making (R) for Adult Protection manual.


    The following is a list of Adult Protection resources to support county adult protection workers in serving and protecting people who are vulnerable in the community. This is not an all-inclusive list. Other resources are available; however, these resources will give workers a quicker and more efficient access to the tools needed in Adult Protective Services.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please contact the Adult Protection state office staff Jennifer Kirchen or Mary McGurran, or at, by phone (651) 431-2609 or (800) 882-6262. TDD/TTY users please call (800) 627-3529 and ask for the phone number listed above.

    County staff: Disability and Aging Policy Quest

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