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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: Jill.Fredel@delaware.gov

Date: November 30, 2022


In 2021, anonymous reports helped protect 2,184 vulnerable adults from potential abuse; new hotline makes reporting neglect, abuse and exploitation easy and confidential

NEWARK (Nov. 30, 2022) - The Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) today announced the launch of the new Adult Protective Services (APS) hotline - 888-APS-4302.

With one simple phone call, concerned individuals and those experiencing harm can connect with free, voluntary services and resources that could save a life. In 2021, more than 2,000 investigations of suspected abuse were conducted based on the reports from concerned and caring individuals.

"Just as we should check smoke detectors at Daylight Saving Time, the holidays are an important reminder to check on the well-being of those who are aging and vulnerable adults in our lives," said Melissa Smith, director of the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. "To support family and friends across the state this holiday season and beyond, we're proud to announce the new, easy-to-remember 24-hour hotline that anyone can use to 'make the call' and protect individuals who may not be able to protect themselves. You have the power to make a difference for a vulnerable adult who is experiencing harm by reporting to Adult Protective Services."

Under Delaware law, a vulnerable adult is defined as a person 18 years of age or older who, because of isolation, sickness, debilitation, mental illness, or physical, mental or cognitive disability, is easily susceptible to harm.

Concerned individuals should call 888-APS-4302 if they suspect the occurrence of any of the following forms of harm:

The new APS hotline makes reporting these types of harm easy and confidential.

Adult Protective Services also recently kicked off an awareness campaign across Delaware with a series of posters and digital public service announcements with the tagline "Make the Call" to reinforce awareness of the critical resource available to all.

While voluntarily reporting harm is highly encouraged, certain professions are legally mandated to report. This includes groups such as caretakers and medical practitioners, as well as employees of financial institutions who have direct contact with a vulnerable adult and suspect financial exploitation.

APS is not a law-enforcement agency, though it does provide information obtained from a report of abuse to partner state agencies and law enforcement. APS may only intervene with its free services and resources if accepted by the victim. Victims themselves also can report harm and are urged to do so.

For more information about Adult Protective Services, including how to file a report, types of harm, and the resources and services available, visit dhss.delaware.gov/dsaapd/aps.


Make the Call reminds us all to take notice of vulnerable adults - neighbors, families and friends - and take action with a new hotline for reporting concern while remaining anonymous.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.