Adult Protective Services

Multigenerational family including seniors, young adults, & children

We protect vulnerable adults in Mississippi.

Adult Protective Services investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults residing in private home settings and connects vulnerable adults to needed services.

How can Adult Protective Services (APS) Help?

  • Investigating reports of vulnerable person abuse in private home settings.
  • Providing protective services to abused, neglected, or exploited vulnerable adults age 18 and older who reside in private home settings.
  • Referring cases for legal intervention if needed.

Types of Abuse and What to Look For

Indicators such as beating, slapping, kicking, rough handling, or other abuse causing welts, cuts, burns, abrasions, sprains, bruises, dislocations, fractures or broken bones.

Indicators such as lack of supervision, failure to give medicine, food or personal care, not attending to bed sores.

Indicators such as the inability to provide self-care (i.e. cook, eat, bath), over-medication/under-medication, untreated medical or mental conditions, aimless wandering, causing fires.

Indicators such as verbal threats or insults, cursing, belittling, withholding companionship or isolation.

Indicators such as Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), pregnancy, bruises, bleeding, pain or itching in genital or anal areas, difficulty in walking or sitting.

Indicators such as mismanaging money or stealing property, savings, credit cards, unusual activity in bank accounts, misuse of assets by a representative payee.

make a report

You can report vulnerable person abuse through our online form or by calling the Vulnerable Person Abuse Hotline at 844-437-6282.

When you make a report, you will be asked to provide as many details about the situation as possible to APS.

To the extent possible, a report should contain, but not be limited to:

  • The name, age, race, sex, physical address and location of the vulnerable person.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the alleged perpetrator.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the caregiver, if different from the alleged perpetrator.
  • Whether or not the vulnerable person is self-neglecting.
  • A description of the neglect, abuse and/or exploitation.
  • Description of the person’s impairment (meaning, what the person can or cannot do) to perform the normal activities of daily living; care for themselves; and protect themselves from abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
  • The potential danger to Adult Protective Services staff who may visit the home (i.e., firearms, drugs).

Mandated Reporters

The Vulnerable Persons Act mandates that any person who knows or suspects that a vulnerable person has been or is being abused, neglected or exploited, shall immediately file a report. Mandated reporters include anyone who is a(n):

  • Attorney, physician, or other medical/mental health professional responsible for the treatment or care of a vulnerable person.
  • Social worker, family protection worker, family protection specialist or other professional adult care, residential or institutional staff.
  • State, county or municipal criminal justice employee or law enforcement officer.
  • Human rights advocacy committee or long-term care ombudsman council member.
  • Accountant, stockbroker, financial advisor or consultant, insurance agent or consultant, investment advisor or consultant, financial planner, or any officer or employee of a bank, savings and loan, credit union or any other financial service provider.

What Happens After a Report is Made

  1. An APS Regional Manager will review the report and decide if the report meets the criteria for an APS investigation.
  2. If the report meets the criteria for investigation, an APS worker will be assigned to investigate the report.
    • The investigation will be initiated within 48 hours if the vulnerable person is in immediate danger and within 72 hours if the vulnerable person is not in immediate danger.
  3. Throughout the investigation process, APS staff members will seek to connect the vulnerable adult to services and supports needed to increase their safety and protection.
  4. APS will report any findings of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult to the Office of the Attorney General, Vulnerable Adults Unit.
    • If there is reasonable cause to believe a caretaker or other person has abused, neglected or exploited a vulnerable person, APS will file a report with the local district attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s Office.

Frequently Asked Questions

A vulnerable person is a person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living, or to provide for his or her own care, protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation or improper sexual contact, is impaired due to:

  • mental, emotional, physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction.
  • brain damage.
  • the infirmities of aging.

The term “vulnerable person” also includes residents or patients, regardless of age, in a care facility. Matters involving a person younger than 18 are handled by Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services.

Abuse of vulnerable persons living non-institutional private home settings (i.e., in his/her own home or the home of another person or an unlicensed care home) must be reported to Adult Protective Services.

Report abuse occurring within licensed care facilities (i.e., nursing homes, personal care homes), or unlicensed personal care homes with four or more residents unrelated to the operator to:

Mississippi State Department of Health


Office of the Attorney General,
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit


Anonymous reports are accepted. However, all mandated reporters shall be required to give their name, address and phone number in the report of the alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The reporter’s name is kept confidential by Centralized Intake.

APS cannot require any mentally competent person to receive protective services.

No. MDHS files a preliminary report of its findings to the Office of the Attorney General, Vulnerable Adults Unit.

The Vulnerable Adults Unit conducts criminal investigations and either the Attorney General’s Office or local District Attorney’s Office prosecutes has any criminal charges.

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Contact Us

Need to report abuse of a vulnerable adult?

You can report vulnerable person abuse through our online form or by calling the Vulnerable Person Abuse Hotline at 844-437-6282.

Area Agencies on Aging