Protective service system; establishment.
Status of guardian.
County protective services agency.
Ch. 55 Cross-reference
See s. 46.011
for definitions applicable to chs. 46
Declaration of policy.
The legislature recognizes that many citizens of the state, because of the infirmities of aging, chronic mental illness, mental retardation, other developmental disabilities or like incapacities incurred at any age, are in need of protective services. These services should, to the maximum degree of feasibility under programs, services and resources that the county board of supervisors is reasonably able to provide within the limits of available state and federal funds and of county funds required to be appropriated to match state funds, allow the individual the same rights as other citizens, and at the same time protect the individual from exploitation, abuse and degrading treatment. This chapter is designed to establish those services and assure their availability to all persons when in need of them, and to place the least possible restriction on personal liberty and exercise of constitutional rights consistent with due process and protection from abuse, exploitation and neglect.
See note to Art. I, sec. 1, citing State ex rel. Watts v. Combined Community Services, 122 W (2d) 65, 362 NW (2d) 104 (1985).
Neither district attorney nor corporation counsel have a duty to petition for protective placement, determination of incompetency or otherwise intervene where an apparently competent elderly person with life threatening illness chooses to remain at home under doctor's and family care rather than seek a higher level of care which might extend her life. 74 Atty. Gen. 188
In this chapter:
"Abuse" means any of the following:
An act, omission or course of conduct by another that is inflicted intentionally or recklessly and that does at least one of the following:
Results in bodily harm or great bodily harm to a vulnerable adult.
Intimidates, humiliates, threatens, frightens or otherwise harasses a vulnerable adult.
The forcible administration of medication to a vulnerable adult, with the knowledge that no lawful authority exists for the forcible administration.
An act that constitutes first degree, second degree, third degree or fourth degree sexual assault as specified under s. 940.225
"Agency" means a county department or any public or private board, corporation or association which is concerned with the specific needs and problems of developmentally disabled, mentally ill, alcoholic, drug dependent or aging persons.
"Caretaker" means the person, if any, who takes care of a vulnerable adult voluntarily or under a contract for care.
"County protective services agency" means the county department designated in s. 55.02
"Developmentally disabled person" means any individual having a disability attributable to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or another neurological condition closely related to mental retardation or requiring treatment similar to that required for mentally retarded individuals, which has continued or can be expected to continue indefinitely, substantially impairs the individual from adequately providing for his or her own care or custody, and constitutes a substantial handicap to the afflicted individual. The term does not include a person affected by senility which is primarily caused by the process of aging or the infirmities of aging.
"False representation" includes a promise that is made with the intent not to fulfill the promise.
"Infirmities of aging" means organic brain damage caused by advanced age or other physical degeneration in connection therewith to the extent that the person so afflicted is substantially impaired in his or her ability to adequately provide for his or her care or custody.
"Interested person" means any adult relative or friend of a person to be protected under this subchapter; or any official or representative of a public or private agency, corporation or association concerned with the person's welfare.
"Mental illness" means mental disease to the extent that an afflicted person requires care, treatment or custody for his or her own welfare or the welfare of others or of the community.
"Misappropriation of property" means any of the following:
The intentional taking, carrying away, use, transfer, concealment or retention of possession of the property of a vulnerable adult without the vulnerable adult's informed consent and with intent to deprive the vulnerable adult of possession of the property.
Obtaining the property of a vulnerable adult by intentionally deceiving the vulnerable adult with a representation that is known to be a false representation, is made with intent to defraud and does defraud the vulnerable adult.
"Neglect" means an act, omission or course of conduct that, because of the failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care or dental care, creates a significant danger to the physical or mental health of a vulnerable adult.
"Other like incapacities" means those conditions incurred at any age which are the result of accident, organic brain damage, mental or physical disability or continued consumption or absorption of substances, producing a condition which substantially impairs an individual from adequately providing for his or her care or custody.
See s. 46.011
for definitions applicable to chs. 46
Protective service system; establishment.
The department shall develop a statewide system of protective service for mentally retarded and other developmentally disabled persons, for aged infirm persons, for chronically mentally ill persons and for persons with other like incapacities incurred at any age in accordance with rules promulgated by the department. The protective service system shall be designed to encourage independent living and to avoid protective placement whenever possible. The system shall use the planning and advice of agencies, including the county department under s. 46.215
. The chairperson of each county board of supervisors shall designate a county department under s. 46.215
which is providing services in his or her county or a joint mechanism of these county departments to have the responsibility for local planning for the protective service system. The chairperson of the Milwaukee county board of supervisors shall designate the county department under s. 46.215
to serve as the county protective services agency for purposes of s. 55.043
. The department and these county departments shall cooperate in developing a coordinated system of services. The department shall provide direct services and enter into contracts with any responsible public or private agency for provision of protective services. In each county, the county department designated under this section shall determine the reporting requirements applicable to the county under s. 880.38 (3)
Status of guardian.
No agency acting as a guardian appointed under ch. 880
shall be a provider of protective services or placement for its ward under this chapter. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the transfer of guardianship and legal custody under s. 48.427
History: 1973 c. 284
; 1979 c. 330
Program responsibilities. 55.04(1)
The department shall have the following responsibilities in the administration of this chapter:
Such other responsibilities as the department deems appropriate.
Evaluation, monitoring and provision of protective placements.
All agencies providing protective services shall make such reports as the department may require.
If service is obtained by order of a court, the provider of service shall make reports under sub. (2)
as the court may direct.
Where any responsibility or authority is created under this chapter upon or in relation to a guardian, such responsibility or authority is deemed to apply to a parent or person in the place of a parent in the case of a minor who is or who is alleged to be developmentally disabled.
County protective services agency. 55.043(1)(a)(a)
If a county protective services agency has probable cause to believe that there is abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property, the county protective services agency may conduct an investigation in Milwaukee county to determine if the vulnerable adult in question is in need of protective services. The county protective services agency shall conduct the investigation in accordance with standards established by the department for conducting the investigations. The investigation shall include at least one of the following:
Observation of or an interview with the vulnerable adult, in private to the extent practicable, and with or without consent of his or her guardian, if any.
An interview with the guardian, if any, and with the caretaker, if any, of the vulnerable adult.
A review of the treatment and patient health care records of the vulnerable adult.
A review of those financial records, if any, of the vulnerable adult that are maintained by the caretaker or landlord of the vulnerable adult or by a member of the immediate family of the vulnerable adult, the caretaker or the landlord.
The county protective services agency may transport the vulnerable adult for performance of a medical examination by a physician if any of the following applies:
The vulnerable adult or his or her guardian, if any, consents to the examination.
The vulnerable adult is incapable of consenting to the examination and one of the following applies:
The vulnerable adult's guardian refuses to consent to the examination, but the examination is authorized by order of a court.
(2) Local enforcement assistance.
The county protective services agency may request a sheriff or police officer to accompany the investigator during visits to the residence of the vulnerable adult or request other assistance as needed. If the request is made, a sheriff or police officer shall accompany the investigator of the county protective services agency to the residence of the vulnerable adult and shall provide other assistance as requested or necessary.
(3) Restraining order; injunction.
If a person other than the vulnerable adult interferes with the investigation under sub. (1)
or interferes with the delivery of protective services to the vulnerable adult, the county protective services agency may obtain a restraining order or injunction under s. 813.123
against the person.
(4) Offer of services.
If upon investigation the county protective services agency finds abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property, the county protective services agency may do one or more of the following:
Offer services, including protective services under s. 55.05
, a protective placement under s. 55.06
, relocation assistance or other services.
Take appropriate emergency action, including emergency protective placement under s. 55.06
, if the county protective services agency considers that the emergency action is in the vulnerable adult's best interests and the emergency action is the least restrictive appropriate intervention.
Refer the case to local law enforcement officials under sub. (2)
for further investigation or to the district attorney, if the county protective services agency has reason to believe that a violation of chs. 939
Refer the case to the licensing or certification authorities of the department or to other regulatory bodies if the residence, facility or program for the vulnerable adult is or should be licensed or certified or is otherwise regulated.
Refer the case to the department of regulation and licensing or the appropriate examining board if the abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property involves an individual who is required to be licensed, permitted, certified or registered under chs. 440
Bring a petition for a guardianship and protective service or protective placement if necessary to prevent abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property and if the vulnerable adult would otherwise be at risk of serious harm because of an inability to arrange for necessary food, clothing, shelter and services.
This section does not apply to patients or residents of state-operated or county-operated inpatient institutions or hospitals issued certificates of approval under s. 50.35
unless the alleged abuse, neglect or misappropriation of property of such a patient or resident is alleged to have been done by a person other than an employe of the inpatient institution or hospital.
History: 1993 a. 445
The appropriate county department designated under s. 55.02
shall, within the limits of available state and federal funds and of county funds required to be appropriated to match state funds, provide for the reasonable program needs of persons who are protectively placed or who receive protective services under this chapter, including reasonable expenses for the evaluations required by sub. (8)
[s. 55.06 (8)
]. Payment and collections for protective placement or protective services provided in public facilities specified in s. 46.10
shall be governed in accordance with s. 46.10
. The department may require that a person who is protectively placed or receives protective services under this chapter provide reimbursement for services or care and custody received, based on the ability of the person to pay for such costs.
NOTE: The bracketed language indicates the correct cross-reference.