Adult Protective Services

In Ashe County, you can make a Protective Service referral anytime, day or night. No appointment is needed.  Please contact 336-846-5719 to make a report during regular business hours (i.e. Monday through Friday between the hours of 8am and 5pm).  To make a report after hours, on weekends or holidays, please contact 336-846-5600 and ask to speak to the on-call social worker.

In the event of an emergency, an on-call social worker is available after regular business hours and weekends.  You may also make the report in writing. You may remain anonymous but we encourage you to give us your name in the event additional information is needed. We are prohibited by statute to disclose the name of the reporter except when law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation related to abuse, neglect or exploitation of the adult; or unless ordered by the court.

Making a Protective Service Referral

Do you have concerns about a disabled adult who is either living in the community or in a licensed facility?

Did you know that there is a law that was enacted in 1975 to protect disabled adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation?

Article 6, Chapter 108A of the North Carolina General Statutes requires that county departments of social services provide protection services for disabled adults who are alleged to be abused, neglected or exploited and in need of protective services.

As the population ages, the number of adults who become disabled increases as well. The statutes specifically address the need of the community to protect vulnerable disabled adults who cannot provide or secure protection and essential services for themselves and who have no other person(s) to provide protection.

A disabled adult is defined by the statutes as any person 18 years of age or older (or ages 16 to 18 if the individual is a lawfully emancipated minor) who is present in the State of North Carolina, and physically and/or mentally incapacitated due to:

  • Mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or autism, or
  • Organic brain damage caused by advanced age or other physical degeneration in connection therewith; or
  • Conditions incurred at any age which are the result of accident, organic brain damage, mental or physical illness, or continued consumption or absorption of substances.

This statute was initiated to protect the increasing number of disabled adults in North Carolina who are being abused, neglected or exploited.

The statute requires that anyone having reason to believe that a disabled person is in need of protective services shall report such information to the director of Social Services.

Referral or Report Process

When taking a report, the social worker will ask numerous questions to collect information such as the adult’s name, address, age/date of birth and Social Security number.  The intake social worker will also request the names of family members and other collateral contacts, information regarding the adult’s disability and details regarding the allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The questions asked are important to assure that all appropriate services are made available to the adult.

To accept the referral for Protective Services, the information provided must indicate that:

  • The adult is physically or mentally incapacitated.
  • The adult is being abused, neglected or exploited. If abused, the abuse must be by a caretaker.
  • The adult is in need of protection.

This specific criteria is important because Protective Services, unlike other services provided by Social Services, is initiated without the consent of the adult.

Social Workers’ Responsibilities

Once a referral is taken for Protective Services, the case will be assigned to a social worker.  Depending on the seriousness of the situation, the social worker will make contact with the client within 24 hours or within 72 hours after the receipt of the report.

A Social Worker is responsible for assessment of the situation and determining the need for protection. The assessment includes evaluating six areas:

  • Physical health.
  • Mental health.
  • Social support.
  • Activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.
  • Financial support.
  • Physical environment.

During the course of the evaluation, the social worker will talk with the adults and collateral contacts as well as use other resources available to determine whether the adult is in need of protection.