REPORT SUSPECTED VULNERABLE ADULT ABUSE, NEGLECT OR FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION
The Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) provides a toll-free number, 1-844-880-1574, for the general public to report suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults. Mandated reporters – including law enforcement, educators, doctors, nurses, social workers and other licensed professionals – can use a web-based reporting system. Call 911 first if you are reporting an emergency that requires immediate assistance from law enforcement, fire department or an ambulance.
REPORTING SUSPECTED MALTREATMENT
Report suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult to the Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center at 1-844-880-1574 which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Minnesota encourages good faith reporting of suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults by any person. If you make a report, your identity is confidential and cannot be released without a court order.
What happens after reporting?
All reports of suspected maltreatment received by MAARC are referred to the agencies responsible to respond. The agency responsible depends on the relationship between the vulnerable adult and the person alleged responsible, if there is an immediate social service need for the vulnerable adult, and if the report contains information which may also be criminal. Lead investigative agencies are county adult protective services, Minnesota Department of Health, or Minnesota Department of Human Services. Reports are reviewed by the lead investigative agency to determine if emergency protective services are needed. Reports that include an alleged crime are also referred to law enforcement.
Information contained in reports of suspected maltreatment of a vulnerable adult made to MAARC is confidential under Minnesota law. MAARC cannot provide information about a report to anyone, including the reporter, once a report is completed. Once a report is referred to the agency responsible, different parts of the law cover how information in the report can be shared, but the identity of the reporter remains protected. Contact the county or state agency responsible for the report for questions about a completed report.
MEEKER COUNTY SOCIAL SERVICES
GUIDELINES FOR PRIORITIZING REPORTS ADULT PROTECTION INVESTIGATION
Maltreatment reports must be made through the Minnesota Central System for reporting suspected maltreatment of vulnerable adults.
Subdivision within MN Statute 626.557 Subd. 9b. Response to reports. Each lead investigative agency shall develop guidelines for prioritizing reports for investigation.
Maltreatment reports for which Meeker County is the lead agency for investigation will be screened for investigation, taking into account the seriousness of the incident and any prior allegations regarding the alleged perpetrator. The following general guide shows which reports will be assigned for investigation.
SCREENING REPORTS FOR INVESTIGATION
To the extent possible, the report must be of sufficient content to identify the vulnerable adult, the caregiver, the nature and the scope of the suspected maltreatment, any evidence of previous maltreatment, the name and address of the reporter, the time, date, and location of the incident, and any other information that the reporter believes might help investigate the suspected maltreatment. A specific type of maltreatment listed below must be alleged within the report, and it must be determined if the individual meets the criteria of a functional or categorical vulnerable adult.
1. Determine if the subject of the report meets the definition of a vulnerable adult either functionally or categorically as defined below.
1. An individual must meet the definition of a Vulnerable Adult as defined by Minnesota Statue 626.5572
Functional: Has impaired ability (mental, physical, emotional); cannot provide adequately for their care (e.g., ADLs and IDLs) or direct his/he own care (food, clothing, shelter, health care, supervision) without assistance; AND is unable to protect self from maltreatment because of the impairment or need for assistance.
Categorically: is a resident or inpatient of a facility; or receives services from licensed services, or who receives home and community-based services licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health or the Minnesota Department of Human Services, or who receives personal care assistance from a person or organization that exclusively offers, provides, or arranges for personal care assistance services under the medical assistance program. This does not include individuals receiving services for the treatment of Chemical Dependency or mental illness and inpatient services provided through the Minnesota sex offender program on a court–hold order for commitment, or to persons committed as sexual psychopathic personalities or as sexually dangerous persons under chapter 253B.
2. A Maltreatment report must meet the definition of maltreatment as defined in Minnesota Statute 626.5572 as follows:
Self-Neglect: (MN Statute 626.5572, Subd.17) An act or omission by a vulnerable adult that results or could result in the deprivation of essential services or supports necessary to obtain or maintain their health, safety, or comfort, such as alcohol or drug misuse leading to health or safety concerns, clothing or lack thereof that creates a health hazard, dangerous behaviors, dehydration or malnutrition, poor hygiene resulting in health hazards, hoarding behavior that results in health or safety hazard, inability/failure to take medications as prescribed or to seek treatment for a physical illness that significantly threatens health or safety, inability/failure to manage funds that result in utility shut-off, loss of shelter or other negative consequences and unsafe/unhealthy living conditions.
Neglect by a Caregiver: (MN Statute 626.5572, Subd. 17) A failure or omission by a caregiver that results in the deprivation of essential services or supports necessary to obtain or maintain the mental, emotional or physical health and safety of a vulnerable adult. This includes a legal relationship, a formal or informal arrangement, or an established pattern of caregiving between the vulnerable adult and the alleged perpetrator. Neglect by a caregiver is defined as refusal, failure, or omission to provide adequate supervision, physical care, failure or omission to provide or allow access to clothing, food, shelter/utilities, failure or omission to assist in primary personal care, or failure or omission to provide to arrange or provide access to prescribed medical treatment or prescribed medications for mental health or physical needs.
Emotional Abuse: (MN statute 626.5572 Subd. 2) The misuse of power, authority, or both: verbal harassment; unreasonable confinement; or behavior that is not accidental or therapeutic which produces or could reasonably be expected to produce mental anguish or emotional distress of a vulnerable adult such as harassing/demeaning/malicious remarks, or actions; threatening/intimidating oral, written or gestured remarks or actions and unreasonable confinement, forced separation, involuntary seclusion or deprivation.
Physical Abuse: (MN statute 626.5572 Subd. 2) Use of physical force that is non-accidental or non-therapeutic which produces or could reasonably be expected to produce physical pain or injury to the vulnerable adult including assault in the first through fifth degrees as defined in sections 609.221 to 609.224 such attack with an object, bit, burn, kick, pinch/grab/choke, push/pull/shove or strike.
Sexual abuse: (MN Statute 626.5572, subd. 2[a] and subd. 2[c]) Contact or interaction of a sexual nature involving a vulnerable adult without their informed consent. If the vulnerable adult is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, they cannot give informed consent. Consent requires a freely given present agreement. Consent does not mean the existence of a prior or current social relationship or the vulnerable adult failed to resist (MN statute 609.341, subd. 4a-b). Situations where a sexual relationship exists prior to the caregiving relationship and where the vulnerable adult is not cognitively impaired and unduly influenced may not be sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is defined as physical contact of a sexual nature, physical contact of a sexual nature involving an object, and sexual utilization of vulnerable for the gratification of others.
Financial Exploitation: (MN Statute 626.5572, subd 9.) The user of a vulnerable adult’s person or property for another person’s profit or advantage, or the breach of a fiduciary relationship through the use of a person or person’s property for any purpose not in the proper and lawful execution of a trust, including but not limited to situations where a person obtains money, property or services from a vulnerable adult through the use of undue influence, harassment, duress, deception, or fraud. This includes exploitation by a person with a fiduciary obligation to the vulnerable adult, exploitation by a person with no fiduciary responsibility to the vulnerable adult, or any person who has forced, compelled, coerced, or enticed a vulnerable adult to perform services for the profit or benefit of another.
3. If Meeker County Social Services receives a maltreatment report that is a conflict of interest for Meeker County to investigate, the adult protection supervisor will refer the report to another county to screen for and complete an investigation per that county’s guidelines.
4. County Jails are not licensed by any agency covered by the Vulnerable Adult statute; County agencies are considered the lead investigative agency by law. If Meeker County Social Services receives a maltreatment report from a vulnerable adult residing in the Meeker County Jail, the supervisor of adult protection will refer the report to another county to screen for and complete an investigation per that county’s guidelines
5. If a Vulnerable Adult passes away during an investigation, the Multi-Disciplinary Team will meet to determine whether the investigation can be completed without the vulnerable adult.
6. If Meeker county receives a maltreatment report regarding an individual who has already passed away, and there is sufficient documentation to indicate the person met the definition of a vulnerable adult defined in MN statute, the Multi-Disciplinary team will meet to determine whether an investigation will be completed.
ADULT PROTECTION/VULNERABLE ADULT SERVICES
EMERGENCY/IMMINENT DANGER REFERRALS
Maltreatment reports alleging the adult needs immediate services for protection will be screened using the Structured Decision-making Tool to assist in determining if there is imminent danger or risk of serious harm. Reports constituting severe harm or current danger to the vulnerable adult's life will receive priority assignment. This would include the following.
- No food and without access or resources to obtain.
- Dangerous level of exposure to extreme temperatures.
- Dehydration or other need for immediate medical care without access or resources to obtain.
- A dependent adult who suddenly is without a caregiver and inability to provide for one’s care and the vulnerable adult will likely suffer from decreased function.
- A report of physical abuse/sexual abuse with observable injuries.
- Established need for emergency guardianship or conservatorship.
- The vulnerable adult is more likely than not to die due to the alleged maltreatment.