New York Consolidated Laws, Social Services Law - SOS § 473. Protective services

1. In addition to services provided by social services officials pursuant to other provisions of this chapter, such officials shall provide protective services in accordance with federal and state regulations to or for individuals without regard to income who, because of mental or physical impairments, are unable to manage their own resources, carry out the activities of daily living, or protect themselves from physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, active, passive or self neglect, financial exploitation or other hazardous situations without assistance from others and have no one available who is willing and able to assist them responsibly.  Such services shall include:

(a) receiving and investigating reports of seriously impaired individuals who may be in need of protection;

(b) arranging for medical and psychiatric services to evaluate and whenever possible to safeguard and improve the circumstances of those with serious impairments;

(c) arranging, when necessary, for commitment, guardianship, or other protective placement of such individuals either directly or through referral to another appropriate agency, provided, however, that where possible, the least restrictive of these measures shall be employed before more restrictive controls are imposed;

(d) providing services to assist such individuals to move from situations which are, or are likely to become, hazardous to their health and well-being;

(e) cooperating and planning with the courts as necessary on behalf of individuals with serious mental impairments;  and

(f) other protective services for adults included in the regulations of the department.

2. (a) In that the effective delivery of protective services for adults requires a network of professional consultants and services providers, local social services districts shall plan with other public, private and voluntary agencies including but not limited to health, mental health, aging, legal and law enforcement agencies, for the purpose of assuring maximum local understanding, coordination and cooperative action in the provision of appropriate services.

(b) Each social services district shall prepare, with the approval of the chief executive officer, or the legislative body in those counties without a chief executive officer, after consultation with appropriate public, private and voluntary agencies, a district-wide plan for the provision of adult protective services which shall be a component of the district's multi-year consolidated services plan as required in section thirty-four-a of this chapter.  This plan shall describe the local implementation of this section including the organization, staffing, mode of operations and financing of the adult protective services as well as the provisions made for purchase of services, inter-agency relations, inter-agency agreements, service referral mechanisms, and locus of responsibility for cases with multi-agency services needs.  Commencing the year following preparation of a multi-year consolidated services plan, each local district shall prepare annual implementation reports including information related to its adult protective services plan as required in section thirty-four-a of the social services law .

(c) Each social services district shall submit the adult protective services plan to the department as a component of its multi-year consolidated services plan and subsequent thereto as a component of its annual implementation reports and the department shall review and approve the proposed plan and reports in accordance with the procedures set forth in section thirty-four-a of this chapter.

3. Any social services official or his designee authorized or required to determine the need for and/or provide or arrange for the provision of protective services to adults in accordance with the provision of this section, shall have immunity from any civil liability that might otherwise result by reason of providing such services, provided such official or his designee was acting in the discharge of his duties and within the scope of his employment, and that such liability did not result from the willfull   1 act or gross negligence of such official or his designee.

4. For the purpose of developing improved methods for the delivery of protective services for adults, the department with the approval of the director of the budget, shall authorize a maximum of five demonstration projects in selected social services districts.  Such projects may serve a social services district, part of a district or more than one district.  These demonstration projects shall seek to determine the most effective methods of providing the financial management component of protective services for adults.  These methods shall include but not be limited to:  having a social services district directly provide financial management services;  having a social services district contract with another public and/or private agency for the provision of such services;  utilizing relatives and/or friends to provide such services under the direction of a social services district or another public and/or private agency and establishing a separate public office to provide financial management services for indigent persons.  The duration of these projects shall not exceed eighteen months.  Furthermore, local social services districts shall not be responsible for any part of the cost of these demonstration projects which would not have otherwise accrued in the provision of protective services for adults.  The total amount of state funds available for such financial management services demonstration projects, exclusive of any federal funds shall not exceed three hundred thousand dollars.  The commissioner shall require that a final independent evaluation by a not-for-profit corporation be made of the demonstration projects approved and conducted hereunder, and shall provide copies of such report to the governor and the legislature.

5. Whenever a social services official, or his or her designee authorized or required to determine the need for, or to provide or arrange for the provision of protective services to adults in accordance with the provisions of this title has a reason to believe that a criminal offense has been committed, as defined in the penal law, against a person for whom the need for such services is being determined or to whom such services are being provided or arranged, the social services official or his or her designee must report this information to the appropriate police or sheriff's department and the district attorney's office when such office has requested such information be reported by a social services official or his or her designee.

6. Definitions.  When used in this title unless otherwise expressly stated or unless the context or subject matter requires a different interpretation:

(a) “Physical abuse” means the non-accidental use of force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment, including but not limited to, being slapped, burned, cut, bruised or improperly physically restrained.

(b) “Sexual abuse” means non-consensual sexual contact of any kind, including but not limited to, forcing sexual contact or forcing sex with a third party.

(c) “Emotional abuse” means willful infliction of mental or emotional anguish by threat, humiliation, intimidation or other abusive conduct, including but not limited to, frightening or isolating an adult.

(d) “Active neglect” means willful failure by the caregiver to fulfill the care-taking functions and responsibilities assumed by the caregiver, including but not limited to, abandonment, willful deprivation of food, water, heat, clean clothing and bedding, eyeglasses or dentures, or health related services.

(e) “Passive neglect” means non-willful failure of a caregiver to fulfill care-taking functions and responsibilities assumed by the caregiver, including but not limited to, abandonment or denial of food or health related services because of inadequate caregiver knowledge, infirmity, or disputing the value of prescribed services.

(f) “Self neglect” means an adult's inability, due to physical and/or mental impairments to perform tasks essential to caring for oneself, including but not limited to, providing essential food, clothing, shelter and medical care;  obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health, mental health, emotional well-being and general safety;  or managing financial affairs.

(g) “Financial exploitation” means improper use of an adult's funds, property or resources by another individual, including but not limited to, fraud, false pretenses, embezzlement, conspiracy, forgery, falsifying records, coerced property transfers or denial of access to assets.

7. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, for the purposes of this article an Indian tribe that has entered into an agreement with the office of children and family services pursuant to section thirty-nine of this chapter, which includes the provision of adult services by such Indian tribe, shall have the duties, responsibilities and powers of a social services district or a social services official for the purpose of providing adult protective services.

8. The office of children and family services shall create and keep current best practice guidelines for the provision of adult protective services pursuant to this article.  Such guidelines shall be distributed for use to local social services districts, and posted on such office's website, and shall include, but not be limited to, the procedures for:

(a) reviewing any previous child or adult protective involvement;

(b) assessing and identifying abuse and neglect of persons believed to be in need of protective services;

(c) interviewing persons believed to be in need of protective services and their caretakers;

(d) reviewing when it is appropriate to seek a warrant to gain access to persons believed to be in need of protective services;

(e) identifying and making referrals for appropriate services;  and

(f) communicating the rights of persons believed to be eligible for protective services.

1 So in original.

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