What legal authority does Adult Protective Services have to intervene in abusive or neglectful reports?

The APS program has the legal authority and responsibility to investigate reports of abuse, neglect, self-neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults in community settings.
Services are provided to meet adults’ basic needs, and to ensure their safety as authorized by the Omnibus Adult Protection Act, SC Code of Laws Title Chapter 43.

How do you report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation to APS?

Call the SCDSS Statewide Abuse Reporting Hotline at 1-888-CARE4US (1-888-247-3487), Monday through Friday, 24 hours. For weekend reporting, refer to your local County DSS web page.  

What is the role of the Adult Protective Services Program?

Accept reports of abuse or neglect
Investigate allegations of abuse or neglect
Assess risk and or needs
Case planning
Court intervention
Make referrals
Coordinate community services
Monitor well-being of client

Who should report abuse, neglect or exploitation of an adult?

There are two types of reporters according to SC law. These are:

  1. Specified professionals who suspect that maltreatment has occurred or is likely to occur
  2. Any professional or non-professional person having actual knowledge that maltreatment has occurred. Some examples are:
    • Doctor
    • Nurse
    • Dentist
    • Optometrist
    • Religious healer
    • Counselor
    • Psychologist
    • Mental health specialist
    • Other medical, mental health or allied health profession
    • YOU

Can you report the abuse or neglect of an individual without giving your name?


What is the response time after a report is accepted?

  • Emergency situations will be investigated according to the risk for the adult (immediately). (0-2 hr. response)
  • Abuse - 24 hours
  • Neglect by caregiver - 48 hours
  • Self Neglect - 48 hours
  • Exploitation - 72 hours

How long does Adult Protective Services have to complete an investigation after an intake has been accepted?

45 Days

Who do I call if there is an abuse or neglect of an adult in a facility? i.e. Nursing Home, Residential Care Facility

State Long Term Care Ombudsman investigates these reports; but, criminal and noncriminal abuse must be reported to SLED and SLED will assess the information and forward it to SLTO. 1-866-200-6066 (24/7).

Do you have a complaint regarding services being provided to a child by a state agency? Please submit your complaint by phone (1-800-206-1957) or an electronic submission form here with the South Carolina Department of Children's Advocacy.