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Hammett addresses misconceptions about APS

Adult Protective Services (APS) Supervisor Susan Hammett met with a group of community members on Tuesday evening at the Friona Junior High Cafeteria to discuss some of the misconceptions surrounding APS.

Hammett is not a stranger to this area. She served this area from 1995-2001 before becoming a supervisor in Amarillo in 2001. She has a Masters in Social Work and is on the West Texas A&M University faculty.

Hammett stated that APS is not the bad guy. They are called in to investigate abuse, neglect, financial exploitation or isolation of the elderly and adults with disabilities.

“We respect the person and their rights,” stated Hammett. “We ‘social work’ a situation to the end while investigating every case.”

“In 2010 more than 2.5 million Texans were age 65 or older, according to population projections. Nearly one out of seven adults with a disability, and almost one-half of people over 65 have a disability. Many live alone or are dependent on other for care.”

Once a report is made the case is prioritizing and they begin working on getting help to those suffering from the abuse, neglect or exploitation.

At this time there are seven investigators in the Panhandle area. Each investigator is investigating 100+ cases each at any given time. They investigate approximately 15-20 cases in Parmer County a month.

The State of Texas is the leading authority in Adult Protective Services in the United States. They receive between 60,000 and 70,000 calls for assistance each month. Their hotline has 300 people answering phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Accountability is number one priority with APS. There is documentation throughout the process of working with a client.

APS reminds those making reports to be specific with the abused, neglected or exploited person’s name, age, problem with the person, and the reason why they are calling in the situation. (A list of signs can be found on page 10)

“We are not everything to everybody” stated Hammett, “but we will help the client find the best way to deal with the situation.”

Helping the client may include finding them another place to live, helping them with the bills, medications, and many other services. There are specific mandates they must follow and not everyone will qualify.

If you suspect elderly abuse, neglect, financial exploitation, or isolation report it to the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400 or report the incident online at https://www.txabusehotline.org. If you believe it is a life-threatening emergency, dial 9-1-1.