The Maryland Adult Protective Services Program
Generally speaking, child support and care responsibilities under Maryland family law end once a person reaches 18 years old. At that point, most minor children become self-sufficient adults, capable of taking care of themselves.
In certain cases, however, adults are not able to reach self-sufficiency. Referred to legally as vulnerable adults under Maryland law, these individuals require assistance to maintain their physical and mental health. Left to their own devices, most vulnerable adults would be incapable of performing the basic tasks needed to stay alive.
To help vulnerable adults maintain physical and mental wellbeing, the Maryland legislature created the adult protective services program. This program provides essential services to vulnerable adults, helping them maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. On an overarching level, the adult protective services program exists to protect the health, safety, and welfare of vulnerable adults in Maryland.
Scope of Adult Protective Services
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 14-202, the adult protective services program includes:
- Intake and investigation services, including medical, social, and psychological evaluation where necessary or appropriate;
- Planning services for vulnerable adults;
- Placement assistance for healthcare services, including home/day care, transportation, counseling, and similar services;
- Cooperation with state courts, including applicable filings, petitions, reports, and recommendations;
- Legal assistance in advance of protective proceedings or review board hearings; and
- Notification of relevant matters to appropriate criminal or juvenile delinquency court.
Additionally, for vulnerable adults over the age of 65, adult protective services must be coordinated with the Maryland Department of Aging or a similar local entity.
Cost of Adult Protective Services
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 14-204, the Secretary of Human Services establishes the cost for the adult protective services program. The Secretary bases the cost on a fee schedule, which accounts for an individual’s ability to pay for protective services.
Additionally, Section 14-204 prohibits charging a fee for protective services if:
- It is impossible to conduct an income eligibility test due to federal rules or regulations;
- The vulnerable adult is eligible for financial aid under the federal program for Supplemental Security Income;
- The vulnerable adult is eligible for financial aid under the federal/state program for temporary cash assistance; or
- The vulnerable adult is eligible for financial aid under the state program for transitional emergency, medical, and housing assistance.
Exceptions to Adult Protective Services
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 14-103, there are several exceptions to the adult protective services program. Specifically, this program does not apply to patient abuse that occurs in:
- Mental health facilities;
- Intellectual disability facilities;
- Nursing homes; or
Let Us Help You Today
If you have questions about the adult protective services program or vulnerable adults in Maryland, it can be tremendously constructive to consult with a proficient family law attorney. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including the adult protective services program and vulnerable adults. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.