Posted Monday, June 14th, 2010

If you or someone you know is 18 years of age or older and is subject to abuse, there is a county agency that may be able to help.

The Morris County Adult Protective Services Unit assists vulnerable adults over 18 who are living in a community setting but who cannot act on their own and who are at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Anyone who suspects a vulnerable adult is the subject of abuse may report those suspicions, anonymously if they wish, to the APS Unit by calling 973-326-7282, said Ophelia Cruse, APS supervisor.

The unit has three individuals who investigate all appropriate referrals and recommend the proper interventions, which may range from coordinating necessary nutrition, homecare and mental health services and medical care to bringing the matter before the Prosecutor’s Office, Cruse said.

According to Cruse, Morris County has seen an increase in referrals, which she attributes to a change in state law. The change requires a health care professional, law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic or emergency medical technician who has reasonable cause to believe that a vulnerable adult is being abused to report the information.

Cruse said 28 referrals were made to her office in the first quarter of this year, compared with 26 during the same period last year.