To determine the extent of implementation of the three recommendations included in our initial audit report, Oversight of Adult Protective Services Programs (2020-S-2).
About the Program
In New York State, the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) administers the Adult Protective Services (APS) – a program of State-mandated services for adults (over age 18) who, because of a mental or physical impairment, are unable to meet their essential needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing, medical care); need protection from abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or other harm; and have no one available who is willing and able to assist them responsibly. Services provided range from safety monitoring, linkages with other service providers (e.g., health, mental health, aging), and assistance in obtaining benefits such as informal money management and court petitions to appoint a guardian or other legal intervention. Within OCFS, the Bureau of Adult Services (Bureau) oversees local APS programs statewide. OCFS' network of APS providers is composed of several categories of entities: the 57 county Local Districts of Social Services and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Department of Human Services, responsible for addressing APS referrals outside of New York City (rest of State, or ROS); and 12 field offices and/or contractors in New York City, responsible for addressing APS referrals in the five boroughs. Hereafter, these entities are collectively referred to as APS providers. Once a referral is received, the APS provider is responsible for assessing the adult's needs and risk of harm, which may also require coordination with law enforcement and other agencies. OCFS' policy requires APS providers to sufficiently document the assessment of the client's needs, their due diligence in helping the client obtain services, and if services were not warranted, the reasons why. To ensure that APS activities meet State standards, the Bureau conducts Practice Reviews (Reviews) of each APS provider. Upon completion of the Review, the Bureau informs the APS provider of its findings. Based on the findings of the Review, the Bureau may require the APS provider to submit a written program improvement plan.
The objective of our initial audit, issued in November 2021, was to determine if OCFS adequately monitors APS activities to protect vulnerable adults. The audit found that OCFS did not effectively monitor APS providers and their activities to ensure vulnerable adults were protected and received the services they need. While OCFS established processes, as well as policies and procedures, to review APS activities, it did not always ensure these processes were being executed as required. OCFS’ policies and procedures lacked explicit guidance on critical aspects of the Review process, including the target time frames for conducting Reviews, the follow-up with APS providers regarding deficiencies and improvement plans, and documentation of these efforts.
OCFS officials have made progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report; however, improvements are still needed. Of the initial report’s three recommendations, one was implemented and the other two were partially implemented.
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of this report to provide information on any actions planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up.
State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager: Heather Pratt
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236