Abuse of adults may take on numerous forms, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse, self-neglect or neglect by a caregiver and financial exploitation. In FY 2018, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) has received approximately 16,468 calls regarding abuse and neglect of this vulnerable population, and more than 7,300 investigations have been assigned.
Adult abuse affects individuals 18 and older who are unable to protect themselves. This includes older adults and persons with disabilities. To call attention to this issue, Governor Jeff Colyer signed a proclamation last week declaring June Adult Abuse Awareness Month.
“When someone thinks of DCF, child welfare is often at the forefront of their minds, but these adults are just as vulnerable, and in need of our assistance,” Secretary Gina Meier-Hummel said. “As the population ages, there are more individuals in need of adult protective services, and we have to be ready to offer them a helping hand.”
DCF Adult Protective Services (APS) helps protect older adults from being taken advantage of, as well as to ensure they are taking care of themselves. To promote adult abuse awareness, the public is invited to wear purple on Friday, June 15.
The State of Kansas takes seriously this issue. Since FY 2011, DCF has added Adult Protective Specialist positions to the Adult Protective Services program. It has increased training and outreach efforts and is now better equipped to serve vulnerable adults.
Since 2011, DCF and other State agencies, community providers and advocates have played an active role in positive change by serving on the APS Advisory Committee. They provided direction on a strategic plan to combat adult abuse. The plan includes six goals, including improving services, increasing staff knowledge, improving tracking and monitoring through data sharing and more.
“Every Kansan has the responsibility to report suspected abuse. This vulnerable population deserves our support and protection,” Governor Jeff Colyer said. “If you see something, say something.”
Kansans can report abuse by calling the DCF Kansas Protection Report Center, which is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week, at 800-922-5330. Another option would to submit a report online at www.dcf.ks.gov/services/pps/Pages/KIPS/KIPSWebintake.aspx