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Adult Protection

The Adult Protection component of the Erie County Department of Social Services provides assessments and then can provide a variety of specialized protective services to vulnerable adults, ages 18 and older whose condition or circumstances make them vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation by others.

Adult Services can provide assistance to linking to the following services:

  • Senior Services
  • Housing Improvement
  • Homemaker Services
  • Housekeeper/Chore Services
  • Home Management
  • Health Related Services
  • Preventive Services for Adults
  • Adult Residential Placement
  • Information and Referral

These beneficial services are designed to prevent or remedy the neglect, exploitation, or abuse of vulnerable adults by strengthening their capacity to function and ability to be self-directing. For more information, please call 858-6877.

Eligibility & Referrals:

Who is eligible for these services?

  • Adult protection, information and referrals are available to all persons, regardless of income.
  • Individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income [SSI], Temporary [Public] Assistance [TA] or Medical Assistance [MA] are eligible for most services.
  • Certain services are available to persons with low or moderate income levels.

How are referrals made for these services?

Any concerned person, family member, friend, neighbor, law enforcement officer, health professional, clergy or financial institution employee who observes an individual having difficulty in providing for their most basic needs; such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or personal safety are urged to call Adult Services at [716] 858-6877 to inquire about making a referral. Individuals recognizing their own needs for help should contact us for assistance.

The Assessment Process:

  • All referrals accepted for an adult service assessment are evaluated for Adult Protection eligibility, regardless of the type of assistance requested by the referral source.
  • Usually begins with a home visit by a caseworker within three [3] business days after receiving the referral. If the situation is considered life-threatening, the home visit will be made within 24 hours.

Adult Protective Services level of services:

Individuals must be 18 years and older who:

  • Are physically or mentally impaired, AND;
  • Are in need of protection from actual or threatened harm as they are no longer capable of protecting themselves from neglect, abuse or hazardous situations, AND;
  • Have no one available who is willing and able to assist them responsibly.

After an Adult Services caseworker completes an assessment, a service category is selected to most adequately address the client's identified needs and level of risk.

Protecting Adults -

In New York State, local Social Services districts have the primary responsibility of providing services to impaired adults living in the community. Successful service delivery relies on community resources and requires collaboration among health and mental health services, programs for the aged, law enforcement, financial institutions, legal agencies, and the courts.

Examples of Social Services and Community Agencies working together:

  • As a result of a court order, a police officer accompanies a DSS Caseworker to the home of a person who appears at risk, but is refusing access.
  • Caseworkers can request a joint home visit with a Crisis Services Outreach Worker to assess an individual's mental status.
  • A bank teller refers an elderly customer for possible financial exploitation - when the individual attempts to withdraw an unusually large sum of money from their account with no reasonable explanation for its use.

Rights of the Individual -

Adults have the inherent right to make their own decisions. They may choose to accept or refuse the services that are offered. However, in cases of extreme need, the Erie County Department of Social Services will intervene to ensure the safety of the individual, regardless of their willingness to voluntarily accept help.