Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services staff investigate reports of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of adults who are unable to protect themselves due to a physical or mental limitation. APS staff assess the need for protective services and provide services to reduce the identified risk to the adult. 


Do you need to report suspected abuse of a vulnerable or elderly adult?

Call: Toll Free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366)

Or, report suspected abuse online at our secure site: 

Coordinated Community Response

Two years ago the Federal Administration for Community Living awarded TDHS a grant to establish a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) involving state and non-profit agencies that play a role in providing protective services.  More than 20 organizations and agencies have been meeting monthly ever since to create solutions that:

  • Improve communications among agencies and organizations.
  • Streamline investigations.
  • Help identify and reduce the number of unsanitary and abusive unlicensed facilities.

Learn more about Tennessee's Coordinated Community Response Strategy, and how it serves to help Tennessee's older and vulnerable adults in the video below.


CCR Report

The Tennessee Department of Human Services' Adult Protective Services unit is partnering with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Tennessee Vulnerable Adult Coalition (TVAC) to help raise awareness and stop elder abuse. To view our Public Service Announcement, click on the window below.

VIDEO: Unheard Cries

VIDEO: It Takes a Village

Learn More About:

Suicide Prevention


Statewide Coordinated Response Model

Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) & Coordinated Community Response (CCR): A Toolkit to Support Communities Across Tennessee

The General Assembly passed the Tennessee Protective Services for Elderly Persons Act in 1974. This was later repealed and amended to include all adults with the passage in 1978 of the Tennessee Adult Protection Act. To read Title 71, Chapter 6, Part 1, click here.

Report Abuse and Neglect
Toll free: 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) 



A DHS/APS counselor will visit the adult to determine the need for protective services.

Family, friends, or professionals who know about the adult's situation may be contacted.

The APS counselor will work with the adult victim and others (family, friends, volunteers, and professionals) to assist the adult and reduce the danger.

If the adult victim is capable, he/she will be encouraged to make decisions regarding needed care or services. Whenever it is possible, Adult Protective Services staff will assist the adult in remaining in his/her home or community.

Some adults may refuse help. Legally, services cannot be forced on an adult, except in special circumstances as specified in the law. Involuntary services always require a court order.

Legal action is used only after all other appropriate solutions have been explored.

Report Abuse and Neglect
Toll free: 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) 


Adult Protective Services may assist an adult in any living arrangement including nursing homes, group homes, their own homes, homes of relatives or friends, etc. The exception is residents of state operated institutions for individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities. This exception became effective May 2001.

Report Abuse and Neglect
Toll free: 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366)


Vulnerable Adult First Responder Quick Reference Card

Neglect occurs when the basic needs of a dependent adult are not met by a caregiver. Neglect may be unintentional, resulting from the caregiver's lack of ability to provide or arrange for the care or services the adult requires. Neglect also may be due to the intentional failure of the caregiver to meet the adult's needs.

Abuse (physical, sexual, and emotional) generally involves more extreme forms of harm to the adult, including the infliction of pain, injury, mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or other cruel treatment.

Financial Exploitation occurs when a caregiver improperly uses funds intended for the care or use of the adult. These are funds paid to the adult or to the caregiver by a governmental agency.

Report Abuse and Neglect
Toll free: 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366)


Vulnerable Adult First Responder Quick Reference Card

VAPIT is a multi-disciplinary team appointed by the DA but must include representatives from law enforcement and Adult Protective Services (APS).  The purpose of VAPIT is to coordinate investigations of suspected instances of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult.

Per TCA 71-6-125, each VAPIT shall:

  • Meet regularly, as determined by the DA or designee, but must meet at least quarterly.
  • Conduct coordinated responses and investigations of instances of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults and typically reviews APS 1215 notification forms.
  • By December 1 of each year, each DA shall cause to be filed an annual report that summarizes the work of the VAPIT for the previous calendar year with the chairs of the judiciary committee of the senate and the criminal justice committee of the house of representatives. 

The VAPIT toolkit was created by the statewide Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to provide information, resources, and tools to support and streamline the efforts of VAPIT. A PDF version of the toolkit can be downloaded here.