Adult Protective Services

Investigations and Assessments
The Adult Protective Services (APS) Unit receives reports of alleged abuse and neglect of adults-at-risk (ages 18-59) and elder adult (ages 60 and above).  When necessary, APS social workers will conduct assessments and investigations to determine if a person is being abused or neglected.

Abuse and Neglect
Vulnerable adults, ages 18-59, may suffer from abuse and/or neglect.  Vulnerable adults may include persons with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, brain injury, or mental health and alcohol and drug abuse issues.  Elderly persons, age 60 and older, may also suffer from abuse/neglect.  Types of abuse and neglect include:

  • Physical abuse is the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or unreasonable confinement. It includes, but is not limited to: choking, inappropriate medications or tying or locking a person up. It also includes sexual abuse.
  • Material abuse, sometimes called  financial exploitation, is the misuse of an elder’s money or property.
  • Neglect occurs when a caregiver's failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or dental care results in significant danger to the physical or mental health of an older person in his/her care.
  • Self-neglect means a significant danger to an elder person's physical or mental health because the elder person is unable to or fails to provide him/herself with adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical or dental care.

What should I do if I think that a vulnerable adult or elderly person is being abused or neglected?
You can call the Barron County Department of Health and Human Services at (715) 537-5691, between the hours of 8:00am and 4:30pm.  Let the receptionist know that you want to make an adult protection report.  If there is an emergency occurring, call 911. 

What will I be asked if I do make a report?
You will be asked to provide as much information about the vulnerable adult or elderly adult as possible.  This will include name, birth date, address, phone number, etc.  You will also be asked to describe the alleged abuse or neglect.  Reporters are also asked to provide their name and contact information.  You do not have to provide this information if you choose not to.

Will the person know that I made the report?
Wisconsin law does not allow us to release the name of the reporter.  However, some people are able to guess as to who may have made a report.  The APS worker  will not confirm or deny the person’s suspicions as to who has reported.

Will the person be taken out of his/her home?
This is a common fear and misconception that people hold.  Each person’s situation is different.  The APS social workers consider a person’s wishes to the extent possible, while making a full assessment of the situation.   It is not our intent to remove people from their homes.