Reports of alleged abuse determined to be within the jurisdiction of DPPC are immediately assigned to an Adult Protective Service (APS) Investigator and a DPPC Oversight Officer. The APS investigator may be one of DPPC’s investigators or an investigator from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), Department of Mental Health (DMH) or the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC).
The DPPC Investigation Unit and the Investigation Units of DDS, DMH and MRC conduct abuse investigations under the authority of M.G.L. c. 19C. The DPPC regulations, 118 CMR, further clarify and operationalize the criteria established by the statute.
The most important goal of any DPPC investigation is to provide protection to anyone who has been or is at risk of abuse or neglect by his or her caregiver. To accomplish this protection, the DPPC relies on the services of other state agencies like DDS, DMH and MRC. Working collaboratively with staff from these agencies, DPPC is able to develop effective protection plans for people with a range of disabilities. APS investigators also look for systemic issues that may contribute or lead to abuse.
APS investigators conduct civil investigations. They work in collaboration with DPPC oversight officers, service providers and law enforcement to ensure that victims of abuse are protected. Investigators collect information by interviewing witnesses, reviewing relevant documents and collecting all of the information necessary to develop an appropriate course of action to protect victims of abuse.
Based upon the collected information, the investigator completes an investigation report. In the report, the investigator documents his or her activities and presents conclusions based on the facts. When the facts indicate that an abusive situation exists, the investigator must include specific recommendations in the investigation report designed to resolve any circumstances that create risk for adults with disabilities who are the subject of the investigation.