The Adult Protective Service Worker conducts regular face-to-face meetings with adults who have a developmental disability to provide:
- Advocacy on their behalf to help them access and maintain generic community supports, apply for government-funded services, and supports and to help them live safely and securely in the community
- Help to the individual identifying their strengths and needsand providing information and referrals at the direction of the adult who has a developmental disability
- Coordination and case management of community resources, service plans, mediation, and liaison with other service providers
- Support with problem-solving, life skills counselling (such as personal budgeting, use of transportation), general education and awareness-building on abuse prevention, help resolving landlord/tenant issues, guidance and group facilitation
There are a number of settings where meetings between the Adult Protective Service Worker and the adult who has a developmental disability would take place. These include the individual’s home, their place of employment or appointments (e.g. doctor, lawyer).
Since the program is intended to support people in the community, it is not a best practice for the majority of meetings to routinely take place in the Adult Protective Service Worker’s office. However, the Adult Protective Service Worker has the discretion to determine those individual circumstances where it may be more appropriate for many of the meetings to take place in the Adult Protective Service Worker’s office such as when there are precautionary concerns regarding the safety of the Adult Protective Service Worker or to help reinforce professional boundaries of the Adult Protective Service Worker/ Client relationship.
The Adult Protective Service Worker also provides ‘outreach’ in the community; seeking out and providing information to adults who have a developmental disability who are receiving little or no service in the community. In such situations, the APSW would provide the adult with a suspected developmental disability with contact information for thier local DSO.
In exceptional circumstances and as a solution of last resort, where an individual does not already have a legally authorized substitute (e.g. Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, guardian of property, power of attorney for property), the Adult Protective Service Worker may, with the consent of the adult who has a developmental disability, apply to be appointed by the Director of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) as trustee for management of the individual’s ODSP income support.
The role of trustee by the Adult Protective Service Worker should be temporary while seeking other service alternatives to assume the role of trustee for management of the person’s ODSP income support. It is recommended that this temporary trusteeship on the part of the APSW should not exceed six months, or as agreed to by the individual, the APSW and the service agency.
The Ontario Disability Support Program Policy Directive 10.2 provides guidance on the role of an ODSP trustee in managing a recipient's income support.
The trustee’s responsibility is to manage the income support for the benefit of the recipient and other members of the benefit unit. The guiding principle in disbursing the income support is that the monies paid out on behalf of the recipient should be necessary for the benefit unit’s support/care and should be provided in a timely manner (e.g., rent is paid on time, food is purchased as required). In making these payments, the trustee must consider the nature of the recipient’s legal obligations (e.g., child support payments, debts).
Any person or organization (i.e. Adult Protective Service Worker, community agency) appointed by the Director of ODSP to act as trustee for a recipient must maintain a record of receipts and disbursements for audit purposes. The records must contain an ongoing list of all money received from the ODSP, including the amount and date received, and an ongoing list of all money paid out on behalf of the recipient, including the amount, date, and purpose of the payment and to whom it was paid.
One of the responsibilities of a trustee appointed by the Director, including an Adult Protective Service Worker, is the requirement to maintain records accounting for the use of income support received on behalf of the recipient, and to provide other information, including receipts, as requested.