The District agency responsible for investigating abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled adults is vowing to reform its policies and procedures after a withering report that said it has failed to protect its vulnerable charges.
A 70-page report issued this week by Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby said that Adult Protective Services rarely calls police to step in, even in cases involving physical abuse or misappropriation of money by a caretaker.
“This lack of collaboration and coordination may put at risk the safety and well-being of APS clients and allow criminal activity to continue unabated,” the report said.
It does not cite specific examples of clients who were injured, died or had assets stolen after being brought to the attention of Adult Protective Services. Deputy Inspector General Blanche Bruce declined to provide more details, saying, “The report speaks for itself.”
APS has made no secret of not asking for much police help . In its annual report for 2007, a year when it opened 831 new cases, the agency said only two cases were reported to police one month. It said many clients, who have health problems and dementia, don’t make great witnesses. It said the clients frequently don’t want family members — even those who are abusing them — to be reported to police. Often they fear they will end up in a nursing home if their caretaker is arrested, according to the annual report, which was restated in the IG report.