Before acting as an advocate, the Adult Protective Service Worker determines the level at which the individual who has a developmental disability understands a potentially harmful situation and can speak on their own behalf. The following are broad examples to guide the Adult Protective Service Worker in advocating on behalf of individuals:
In some communities, the Adult Protective Service Worker has also been designated as the Intensive Case Manager and can assist the individual. In other communities, the services of a separate Intensive Case Manager may not be available.
- The adult who has a developmental disability has limited ability to make personal decisions or respond.
- The adult who has a developmental disability may be aware of exploitation (by family, friends, employers, or landlord) but is unable to speak on their own behalf.
- The adult who has a developmental disability does not understand their rights or what action may be necessary when their rights have been violated.
- The adult who has a developmental disability is aware of abuse, exploitation or disservice but needs guidance in bringing their concerns before the appropriate authority and in following the most appropriate process to do so.
- The adult who has a developmental disability is capable of self-advocacy and can use the appropriate services independently because they understand them and can communicate effectively.
The advocacy role may involve the Adult Protective Service Worker in court proceedings. If the adult who has a developmental disability is involved in legal proceedings, the Adult Protective Service Worker can help the individual to access Intensive Case Management Services that may be available in the person’s community.
The Intensive Case Manager provides referral resources to assist the court support workers and discharge planners in the appropriate case management of individuals. The Intensive Case Manager establishes collaborative contacts with community-based services to divert individuals with dual diagnosis in conflict with the law to community- based developmental (MCSS funded) and mental health (Ministry of Health and Long- Term Care funded) resources and services. The Adult Protective Service Worker and Intensive Case Manager should work together to support the individual because the Adult Protective Service Worker might have a long term relationship with the individual while the Intensive Case Manager might not be as familiar with the individual.
For further reading about specific services and supports in the community, please read this article seen in Spotlight on Transformation, June 2009.