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Human Services

Adult Protection

Older couple sitting on a bench in a parkTo report Adult Abuse or Neglect in Douglas County call 303-663-6270

Adult Protection Services (APS) are provided to at-risk-adults aged 18 and older who, due to age or disability, are unable to protect themselves and have no one to advocate on their behalf.  The Adult Protection program deals with reports of Abuse – physical or sexual; Neglect – caregiver or self; and Financial Exploitation.  You can also learn what happens when you report adult abuse.

If you suspect mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult, and the person lives in Douglas County, immediately report the situation to the Douglas County Department of Human Services at 303-663-6270.


Adult Protective Services

What happens when you report adult abuse?

When making a report, please have as much of the following information ready to provide:

  • Adult’s name, address, current location, phone, and date of birth or approximate age
  • The circumstances that cause you to suspect that mistreatment or self-neglect are occurring
  • When appropriate, the suspected perpetrator’s name, address, and relationship to the adult
  • Additional information about the adult, if available, such as his or her doctor, caregiver, attorney, guardian, or other person of significance to the adult

It’s okay to make a report even if you are not able to answer all of the questions.

The identity of a person reporting concerns about an at-risk adult is confidential, he or she may remain anonymous when making a report.  However, it is very helpful if the reporting person provides some means by which the caseworker can re-contact him or her for additional information.  Getting additional information from the reporting person may help to provide a better outcome for the at-risk adult.

If the reporting person believes the person was at-risk and in danger and he or she made the report in good faith, there is no liability to the reporting person should the information provided turn out to be false or incomplete.

Who are At-Risk Adults?

The purpose of the Adult Protective Services program is to protect adults who cannot protect themselves. These adults are known as “at-risk adults.” They are considered to be at risk of mistreatment or self-neglect because:

  • They are unable to protect themselves; and/or
  • They are unable to perform or arrange for services that will help them protect their health and safety; and/or
  • They lack sufficient understanding or lack capacity to make or communicate decisions that will keep them safe and healthy.

In Colorado, an “at-risk adult” is defined as “an individual eighteen years of age or older who is susceptible to mistreatment or self-neglect because the individual is unable to perform or obtain services necessary for the individual’s health, safety, or welfare or lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the individual’s person or affairs.”  Adults who might meet the definition of an at-risk adult include adults in unsafe situations who have developmental disabilities, acquired brain injuries, major mental illnesses, or neurological or cognitive deficits. Older adults who are frail and unable to perform typical activities of daily living and who are in unsafe situations may also meet the definition of an at-risk adult.

Types of Adult Abuse

If you suspect mistreatment or self-neglect of an at-risk adult, and the person lives in Douglas County, immediately report the situation to the Douglas County Department of Human Services at 303-663-6270.

Adult Protection Stahttp://teL:3036636270ff investigates the mistreatment of at-risk adults.  This mistreatment may be in the form of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation.


  • Infliction of physical pain or injury, such as substantial or multiple skin bruising, bleeding, malnutrition, dehydration, burns, bone fractures, poisoning, subdural hematoma, soft tissue swelling, or suffocation.
  • Unreasonable confinement or restraint
  • Subjection to consensual sexual contact or conduct


  • Caretaker Neglect – Adequate food, clothing, shelter, psychological care, physical care, medical care, or supervision is not secured for the at-risk adult or is not provided by a caretaker in a timely manner and with the degree of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would exercise.
  • Self Neglect – An act or failure to act whereby an at-risk adult substantially endangers the adult’s health, safety, welfare, or life by not seeking or obtaining services necessary to meet the adult’s essential human needs.
  • Choice of lifestyle or living arrangements is not, by itself, evidence of self-neglect.


  • The illegal or improper use of an at-risk adult – or the adult’s resources for another person’s profit or advantage.

Adult Protection Services Interventions

When providing protective services, APS strives to secure the safety and protection of the at-risk adult and to ensure, as much as possible, that each case is handled with priority given to the following principals:

  • Confidentiality
  • Consent
  • Self-Determination
  • Least Restrictive Intervention

Douglas County is not in the position to become the guardian or conservator for Adult Protection clients.  Every effort will be made to find a family member or friend to take on this role.

Adult Protection interventions may include access and support for:

  • Legal issues
  • Social issues
  • Medical issues
  • Housing issues
  • Nutrition issues
  • Financial issues
  • Home Health issues
  • Safety issues