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Our Social Workers provide intake, screening and assessment of abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly/disabled adults. Adult Protective Services reports that are not substantiated or that do not meet the criteria to be “screened in” are provided with information and referrals, when appropriate. Adult Services staff provide a wide variety of case management services, as well as administering our Special Assistance/In-home program (SA-IH) and our Community Alternatives Program for disabled adults (CAP/DA). With the assistance of these programs, disabled adults are able to live in the community.


Adult Placement

Our Adult Placement service provides assistance to individuals and their families to identify the need for an alternative living arrangement, obtain necessary medical advice as to the level of care needed for the person, locate an appropriate facility, assist with securing financial assistance to pay for the care and providing counseling and intervention when needed for any adjustment problems that occur. Placement may be in residential health care facilities, adult care homes or other group care facilities.

Nursing Home / Rest Home Complaint Unit Numbers: 800.624.3004 or 919.855.4500

Division of Health Services Regulation

NC Health Care Registry

Adult Protective Services

Our Adult Protective Services program works to protect disabled adults from abuse, neglect or exploitation. In the state of North Carolina, the criteria for screening in an adult protective services report are: the adult is alleged to be disabled, the adult is alleged to be abused, neglected and/or exploited and the adult is in need of protection.

The disability may be due to advanced age, disease, injury, or developmental condition. Social workers evaluate to determine if there has been mistreatment and if the adult is in need of protection. If so, essential services are provided that will protect the adult from the abuse, neglect or exploitation that he or she is experiencing.

Reporting Adult Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation

Anyone having concerns that an elderly or disabled person is unsafe or is being mistreated should make a report. Reports can be made anonymously.

During normal working hours, 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday, you may make a report by calling the Dare County Department of Health and Human Services – Division of Social Services at 252-475-5500 and tell the receptionist that you would like to make an APS report.  After 5:00 pm nights, weekends, and holidays, please call Dare Central Communications at 252-473-3444 and tell the dispatcher that you would like to make an APS report. If it is an emergency, please call 911.

DO NOT use email to report suspected incidents of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation. It causes delays and confidentiality may not be ensured.

What happens after a report is made?

If a report is accepted for evaluation, a response time is determined and the report is assigned to an Adult Protective Services social worker. The social worker will be tasked with initiating the report immediately, within 24 hours or 72 hours, depending on the allegations made in the report.

For reports of abuse and neglect, the social worker has 30 days to complete a community evaluation. The evaluation explores all aspects of the adult’s life: physical and mental health, living situation, family supports and finances. Contact is made with family and any collateral contacts the social worker may have. Medical records are also reviewed.

For reports of exploitation, the social worker has 45 days to complete the community evaluation.

For all reports, the social worker must determine if the allegations reported are true (confirm mistreatment) and if the adult is in need of protection (substantiate the allegations/need for protection). If the adult is in need of protection, this means the adult is not willing and/or able to provide essential services and there is no one who is able and/or willing to provide essential services.

What happens after a case decision is made?

If allegations are unsubstantiated, there is no need for protection at that time. The social worker may make referrals to community resources in efforts to maintain stability for the adult.

If allegations are substantiated, the adult can accept or refuse protective services to be put in place by the social worker. Protective services may include but are not limited to assistance with medical care, transportation, assistance in the home through in-home aide services or placement in facility. If the adult does not have the capacity to make their own decisions, as determined by the social worker, it may be necessary to file a court petition to assist the adult.

If the reporter was not anonymous, the social worker will send a letter indicating the outcome of the evaluation. Anonymous reports will receive no case decision information.

Special Assistance In-home

Our Special Assistance In-home program allows some individuals who could receive care in a licensed facility to remain safely in their private living arrangement with sufficient income, adequate housing, necessary health and social services, reliable supports and case management.

The purpose of the SA/IH payment is to help eligible individuals meet their basic financial needs. The SA/IH payment is an income supplement and is intended to assist in the provision of daily necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, utilities, transportation, in-home aide services and essential household items and needs.

Community Alternatives Program

Our Community Alternative Program offers an alternative to placement for Medicaid recipients who need the level of care offered in nursing homes but who prefer to remain at home.

This program can be approved if a thorough evaluation and care plan can be developed that assures the client’s health, safety, and well-being can be maintained in the home setting. Family and other social support must be in place as well.

Many services may be included such as aide services, skilled nursing and therapy visits, medical supplies and nutritional supplements, home mobility aids, medical equipment, telephone alert systems, and social work visits to manage the plan.

Guardianship and Payee Services

We are able to provide guardianship and payee services for identifying adults who can no longer make competent decisions concerning themselves and/or their property, petitioning the court to determine incompetency, locating and working with families and others during the proceedings, and serving as guardian when no other appropriate person or resource is available.

A guardian of the person is responsible for consenting to medical care or deciding where the client will live. A guardian of the estate determines how the client’s income and resources are used to meet his or her needs. A general guardian has responsibilities to both the person and the property.

When a recipient of a benefit check such as Social Security is unable to manage his benefits to meet his essential needs, our department may be appointed as protective payee. Instructing and counseling the client to better understand financial responsibility is often a component of this service.

In-Home Aide Services

We are licensed to provide in-home aide services in Dare County. Assistance provided includes help with bathing, dressing, walking, meal preparation, essential errands, housekeeping and home management.

All areas of the county are included. The program is funded by grants and county funds. There is no charge to the recipient for these service. Hours provided can range from a few hours per week to many more depending on the type and amount of assistance needed and the availability of others to help.

Clients who are served under the grants may be asked to contribute a cost share if they can. This is a donation based on a percentage of the cost per hour of providing the service. Contributions are not required and no client will lose his aide services or have them reduced if he is unable to or does not wish to contribute.

Legal Services

Dare County contracts with a local attorney to provide legal services to adults 60 and older through a grant we receive from the Older Americans Act. Services received through this program can include: drawing up wills, powers of attorney, other documents and providing legal advice. Court work is not included.  

If you are under the age of 60 and need legal assistance, Legal Aid of North Carolina may be able to help.


Legal Aid Helpline

Toll-Free: 1 (866) 219-LANC (5262)

8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, Monday - Friday

5:30 PM - 8:30 PM, Monday & Thursday

Adult Home Specialist

We are tasked by the state with the monitoring and investigating of complaints for assisted living facilities in our county. Monitoring is completed on a quarterly basis and complaints are investigated as they are received. Currently, there is one assisted living facility in Dare County; Spring Arbor of the Outer Banks located in Kill Devil Hills.