The CourAGE to Care
Do You Have The CourAGE to Care?
The Nebraska Abuse and Neglect Hotline number is 1-800-652-1999. View APS website here.
Nebraska’s Adult Protective Services Program is housed within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Children and Family Services. We are dedicated to protecting vulnerable adults from further abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect. We are a relatively small program consisting of 29 Child and Family Services Specialists and six supervisors who do the work of investigating allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults in our state. Two administrators and Central Office staff oversee and support the work being done in the field.
The work of Adult Protective Services is defined by the Nebraska’s APS Act for Vulnerable Adults (Nebraska Revised Statutes 28-348 20-387) and our state regulations (Nebraska Administrative Code 463 Chapter 1 – Adult Protective Services). The APS Act authorizes the Department with investigating abuse, neglect and exploitation and providing services to the victims of vulnerable adult abuse. APS works with local law enforcement agencies to investigate adult protective services reports. Our goal is to protect the individual and whenever possible to prevent the offending person from harming another vulnerable adult. A “vulnerable adult” is defined in the APS Act as any person eighteen years of age or older who has a substantial mental or functional impairment or for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed under the Nebraska Probate Code. Not every person who is a “senior adult” (a person over the age of 65) meets the definition of a vulnerable adult. As Nebraskans we value our independence and the right to live our lives as we choose. This is appropriate as long as we can cognitively make decisions about our life and understand the potential consequences. This is why APS cannot become involved with every report of alleged abuse, neglect or exploitation received regarding all elderly persons in the state. The Nebraska Abuse and Neglect Hotline screens allegations of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation to determine whether the information meets the criteria for assessment. If the criteria is met, we investigate reports of exploitation, abuse and neglect, and connect the vulnerable adult to the services that will help them maintain the dignity and well-being they deserve.
Our Adult Protective Service staff are dedicated to Nebraska’s vulnerable adults of all ages. APS works closely with other DHHS divisions, including the Division of Developmental Disabilities, the Division of Public Health and the State Unit on Aging (SUA), an office of the Division of Medicaid and Long Term Care. The SUA oversees a network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) across the state. The AAAs provide services to Nebraska’s seniors without regard to vulnerability. APS staff are well versed in the resources available to elders and other vulnerable adults and forge strong relationships with the AAAs who provide support to the elderly population of Nebraska, as well as private groups that enhance the lives of older Nebraskans.
The staff of Nebraska’s APS program are passionate about the people we serve. We recognize that seniors are living longer, but not necessarily better. Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and declining cognitive and physical functioning make elders more vulnerable to victimization. It is estimated that one in 10 Americans age 60+ is a victim of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. This translates to about five million victims of elder abuse annually. We resolve to combat this statistic every day. Unfortunately, we also recognize that elder abuse is vastly under-reported. As few as one in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities, making elder abuse significantly under-identified and under-reported. 
In the U.S., an estimated $2.9 billion is lost through financial exploitation of older people annually. Without gainful employment or years to re-grow their investment income, the victims of financial exploitation are deprived of their life’s work and savings and are left without the funds necessary to pay for housing, food and medical care.
Here in Nebraska in 2019 there were 2,565 investigations of abuse, neglect and/or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Thirteen percent of the investigations (339) resulted in substantiated findings. Another category, self-neglect, resulted in 207 confirmed cases out of 1,060 reports investigated.
While elder abuse is a pervasive problem across society, there is hope. Senior centers, our Area Agencies on Aging and social services can help our older citizens avoid isolation and they can provide education and awareness help to support our older population.
Why we do what we do: The motto of DHHS is “Helping People Live Better Lives” and this is what our APS Specialists are doing every day!
 Elder Abuse Statistics and Facts, 2017
Past CourAGE to Care Honorees:
AAA's - click Here to view their story
AARP - click Here to view their story
Aging Partners - click Here to view their story
Alzheimer's Association - click Here to view their story
Austin Wilson – click Here to view his story
Care Consultants for the Aging – click Here to view their story
Career Opportunities - click Here
CHI Health Faith Community Health Network - click Here to view their story
DD Launderville – click Here to view her story
Dreamweaver Foundation - click Here to view their story
Emily Drummy – click Here to view her story
Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging – click Here to view the story of Dennis Loose and Janelle Cox
Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging Volunteer Program – click Here to view thier story
Glenda Hallberg – click Here to view her story
Home Delivered Meal Providers – click Here to view their story
Hospice House - click Here to view their story
Intercultural Senior Center - click Here to view their story
Jeannie Hannan – click Here to view her story
Joey Cadek – click Here to view his story
Judy Dierkhising – click Here to view her story
Legal Aid of Nebraska - click Here to view their story
LifeLoop - click Here to view their story
Methodist Hospital - click Here to view their story
Parkinson's Foundation - click Here to view their story
Rose Blumkin Jewish Home - click Here to view their story
The Nebraska State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program - click Here to view their story
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Omaha National Cemetery - Click Here to their story
VA Omaha Geriatrics - click Here to view their story