March 15, 2021

(DES MOINES, Iowa) – In the coming months, the Department of Human Services plans to transition to specialized adult protective staff, a change from the current model that doesn’t differentiate between child protective staff (workers and supervisors) and adult protective staff. This process will involve a core team of DHS field staff, policy and operation staff for the transition of general protective services staff to dedicated adult protective staff.

“The move to a specialized adult protective services program statewide will allow Iowa to institute best practices that were not feasible in our previous multi-discipline approach to protection work,” said Gloriana Fisher, Adult Services Program Manager in the Division of Adult, Children and Family Services at DHS.

DHS will continue to evaluate Iowa Code, Administrative Rules and DHS policy to assure that standards identified in the Voluntary Consensus Guidelines published by the Administration of Community Living remain at the forefront of practice.

Iowa Code 235B gives legal responsibility to DHS to assess allegations of dependent adult abuse in community settings. Historically, DHS’s response to adult protective services runs parallel to child protective services. Field Operations staff conduct both child abuse assessments and adult protective assessments. The transition to specialized adult protective staff will allow for the development of resources and community collaboration necessary to mitigate adult protective concerns.

DHS coordinated with several internal and external partners to evaluate DHS’s adult protective service response and provide recommendations for improvements. This included Mental Health and Disability Services, Field Operations, the Dependent Adult Protection Advisory Council, Coordinated Community Response Team, and Iowa Department of Aging staff.

While engagement and assessment skills are consistent between child protective services and adult protective services, staff require an extensive amount of specialized knowledge in order to provide true comprehensive adult protective services. To assure core competencies as well as knowledge and skills needs that are unique to Iowa, the dedicated adult protective staff will receive a combination of additional e-learning and instruction-led training.

For more on Adult Protective Services, visit:


Program Contact:

Gloriana Fisher


Media contact:

Matt Highland