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Programs & Services

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) goal is to maximize positive outcomes with dependent adults by protecting their well-being, empowering independence, and supporting their quality of life.

Dependent Adult Protective Services (APS) receives reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of dependent adults. Concerns of possible abuse are evaluated or assessed by HHS. The program endeavors to provide for the safety and protection of adults who are, or are suspected to be, victims of maltreatment. The program endeavors to make referrals to assist alleged victims and their families in locating community support to meet their needs. Iowa operates as a state-supervised and state-administered program with 5 service areas of field operation.

Who Qualifies?

Persons who meet the definition of ‘dependent adult,’ who have either been abused or neglected by a caretaker or have neglected themselves, are assessed by HHS.

‘Dependent adult’ means a person eighteen years of age or older who is unable to protect the person’s own interests or is unable to adequately perform or obtain services necessary to meet essential human needs, as a result of a physical or mental condition that requires assistance from another, or as defined by Department rule.

‘Caretaker’ means a related or non-related person who has the responsibility for the protection, care, or custody of a dependent adult as a result of assuming the responsibility voluntarily, by contract, through employment, or by order of the court. 

How to Apply

Protective Service Units are available in all DHS County offices. You can call your local DHS office to make a referral or use the toll-free, hot line number, which is answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-362-2178.


Handbook for Adult Guardians and Conservators - This Handbook is designed to provide information to guardians and conservators and is not intended to replace the advice of an attorney or requirements as stipulated by the laws of Iowa and addressed in the Iowa Code.  The information in this handbook focuses on guardianships and conservatorships for adults. This handbook does not address guardianships and conservatorships for minors.

External Resources

2022 Older Adult Mental Health Webinar Series

Adult Protective Services FAQs