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You would have, of late, been reading about protecting vulnerable adults particularly the elderly. The services provided will include and to a larger extent be administered by an Adult Protective Service (APS), as well as partners working with APS. This will be an area where more social workers will be required to play a significant and purposeful role. What does an APS caseworker do?
An APS caseworker performs advanced social work related to protecting the elderly and adults with disabilities who are unable to protect themselves. An APS caseworker has an interesting job that includes:
An APS worker always works in a team, supports other caseworkers and follows the directions of the courts and agencies.
Social work intervention would include investigating allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation of people who are elderly or disabled. This involves:
Social workers are in an ideal professional position to discover and intervene in elder abuse, self-neglect or self-harm in an older adult. Besides remedy, social workers often can take the lead in establishing safeguards for an older adult as a form of preventive work in these areas. Assessment is among the first activities that the social worker carries out and it involves the following:
An effective protective service is built on good relationships among law enforcement agents, medical personnel, court personnel and representatives from various service providers. Very often, social workers play the role of advocate, case manager and convenor of case management and decision making platforms. For vulnerable adults, especially those with complex needs or needs that require the services of more than one agency, department or professional, the experience of a coordinated response and commitment to a case plan will better safeguard the interest of the client. The adult will have a better sense of safety, care and support. Now that we know that inter-agency work is important, it is a working style that agencies will have to adopt and commit to in order to utilize the expertise of various professionals in safeguarding the interest of vulnerable adults.
Director of Social Welfare
Ministry of Social and Family Development