55.043(2)(b) (b) If the adult-at-risk agency worker or investigator or other agency investigator has reason to believe that substantial physical harm, irreparable injury, or death may occur to an adult at risk, the worker or investigator shall either initiate a protective services action under this chapter or contact law enforcement or another public agency, as appropriate.
55.043(3) (3)Restraining order; injunction. If a person interferes with the response or investigation under sub. (1r) or interferes with the delivery of protective services under this chapter to the adult at risk, the adult-at-risk agency investigator or worker may apply for an order under s. 813.123 prohibiting the interference.
55.043(4) (4)Offer of services and referral of cases.
55.043(4)(am)(am) Upon responding to a report, the adult-at-risk agency or the investigative agency shall determine whether the adult at risk or any other individual involved in the alleged abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect is in need of services under this chapter or ch. 46, 47, 49, 51, or 54. If provided, direct services shall be rendered under the least restrictive conditions necessary to achieve their objective.
55.043(4)(b) (b) If, after responding to a report, the adult-at-risk agency has reason to believe that the adult at risk has been the subject of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, the adult-at-risk agency may do any of the following:
55.043(4)(b)1. 1. Initiate a protective services action or contact an investigative agency, as appropriate.
55.043(4)(b)2. 2. Take appropriate emergency action, including provision of emergency protective services under s. 55.13 or emergency protective placement under s. 55.135, if the adult-at-risk agency considers that the emergency action is in the best interests of the adult at risk and the emergency action is the least restrictive appropriate intervention.
55.043(4)(b)3. 3. Refer the case to law enforcement officials, as specified in sub. (2), for further investigation or to the district attorney, if the adult-at-risk agency has reason to believe that a crime has been committed.
55.043(4)(b)4. 4. Refer the case to the licensing permitting, registration, or certification authorities of the department or to other regulatory bodies if the residence, facility, or program for the adult at risk is or should be licensed, permitted, registered, or certified or is otherwise regulated.
55.043(4)(b)5. 5. Refer the case to the department of safety and professional services or the department of agriculture, trade and consumer protection, as appropriate, if the financial exploitation, neglect, self-neglect, or abuse involves an individual who is required to hold a credential, as defined in s. 440.01 (2) (a), under chs. 440 to 460 or to hold a license, certification, or permit issued under s. 89.06, 89.072, or 89.073.
55.043(4)(b)5g. 5g. Refer the case to the department of financial institutions if the financial exploitation, neglect, self-neglect, or abuse involves an individual who is required to be registered under s. 202.13 or 202.14.
55.043(4)(b)6. 6. Bring or refer for action to bring a petition for a guardianship and protective services or protective placement or a review of an existing guardianship if necessary to prevent financial exploitation, neglect, self-neglect, or abuse and if the adult at risk would otherwise be at risk of serious harm because of an inability to arrange for necessary food, clothing, shelter, or services.
55.043(5g) (5g)Refusal of services. An adult at risk may refuse to accept services unless a guardian authorizes the services. The adult-at-risk agency or other provider agency shall notify the adult at risk of this right to refuse before providing services.
55.043(6) (6)Records; confidentiality.
55.043(6)(a) (a) In this subsection:
55.043(6)(a)1. 1. “Departmental report form" includes documentation of an adult-at-risk agency's response to or investigation of a report made under sub. (1r) and is the information required to be submitted to the department.
55.043(6)(a)2. 2. “Record" includes any document relating to the response, investigation, assessment, and disposition of a report made under sub. (1r).
55.043(6)(am) (am) The adult-at-risk agency shall prepare a departmental report form on its response under sub. (1r) to a report of suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect. If the adult-at-risk agency refers the report to an investigative agency, the investigative agency shall advise the adult-at-risk agency in writing of its response to the report. The adult-at-risk agency shall maintain records of suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
55.043(6)(b) (b) Departmental report forms are confidential and may not be released by the adult-at-risk agency or other investigative agency, except under the following circumstances:
55.043(6)(b)1. 1. To the adult at risk, any person named in a departmental report form who is suspected of abusing, neglecting, or financially exploiting an adult-at-risk, and the suspect's attorney. These persons may inspect the departmental report form, except that information identifying the person who initially reported the suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, or any other person whose safety might be endangered through disclosure, may not be released.
55.043(6)(b)2. 2. To the agency or other entity contacted under sub. (2) (b). Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential.
55.043(6)(b)3. 3. To an individual, organization, or agency designated by the department or as required by law for the purposes of management audits or program monitoring and evaluation. Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential and may not be used in any way that discloses the names of or other identifying information about the individuals involved.
55.043(6)(b)4. 4. For purposes of research, if the research project has been approved by the department or the adult-at-risk agency and the researcher has provided assurances that the information will be used only for the purposes for which it was provided to the researcher, the information will not be released to a person not connected with the study under consideration, and the final product of the research will not reveal information that may serve to identify the individuals involved. The information shall remain confidential. In approving the use of information under this subdivision, the department shall impose any additional safeguards needed to prevent unwarranted disclosure of information.
55.043(6)(b)5. 5. Under lawful order of a court of record.
55.043(6)(b)6. 6. To any agency or individual that provides direct services under sub. (4), including an attending physician for purposes of diagnosis, examination, and treatment, and within the department to coordinate treatment for mental illness, developmental disabilities, alcoholism, or drug abuse of individuals committed to or under the supervision of the department. Information obtained under this subdivision shall remain confidential.
55.043(6)(b)7. 7. To the guardian of the adult at risk or the guardian of any person named in a report who is suspected of abusing, neglecting, or financially exploiting an adult at risk. These persons may inspect the departmental report form, except that information identifying the person who initially reported the suspected abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect, or any other person whose safety might be endangered through disclosure, may not be released.
55.043(6)(b)8. 8. To law enforcement officials in accordance with the policy developed under sub. (1g) (a).
55.043(6)(b)9. 9. To a federal agency, state governmental agency, agency of any other state, or local unit of government in this state or any other state that has a need for a departmental report form in order to carry out its responsibility to protect adults at risk from abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
55.043(6)(b)10. 10. To the reporter who made a report in his or her professional capacity, regarding action taken to protect or provide services to the alleged victim of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
55.043(6)(bd) (bd) If a person requesting a departmental report form is not one of the persons or entities specified in par. (b), the adult-at-risk agency may release information indicating only whether or not a report was received and whether or not statutory responsibility was fulfilled.
55.043(6)(br) (br) Notwithstanding par. (b) 1. to 10., an adult-at-risk agency or an investigative agency may not release departmental report forms under this section, if any of the following applies:
55.043(6)(br)1. 1. The adult-at-risk agency determines that release would be contrary to the best interests of the adult at risk who is the subject of the departmental report form or of a minor residing with the subject of the departmental report form, or the release is likely to cause mental, emotional, or physical harm to the subject of the departmental report form or to any other individual.
55.043(6)(br)2. 2. The district attorney determines that disclosure of the information would jeopardize any ongoing or future criminal investigation or prosecution or would jeopardize a defendant's right to a fair trial.
55.043(6)(br)3. 3. The adult-at-risk agency determines that disclosure would jeopardize ongoing or future civil investigations or proceedings or would jeopardize the fairness of such a legal proceeding.
55.043(6)(bt) (bt) Subject to pars. (b), (bd), (br), (bv) and (bw), records under this subsection are confidential and may not be released by the adult-at-risk agency or other investigative agency, except under the following circumstances, upon request:
55.043(6)(bt)1. 1. To the adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record.
55.043(6)(bt)2. 2. To the legal guardian, conservator, or other legal representative of the adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record, if the legal guardian, conservator, or other legal representative of the alleged victim is not the alleged perpetrator of the abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.
55.043(6)(bt)3. 3. To law enforcement officials and agencies in accordance with the policy developed under sub. (1g) (a) or with investigations conducted under sub. (1r), or a district attorney, for purposes of investigation or prosecution.
55.043(6)(bt)4. 4. To the department, under s. 51.03 (2), or for death investigations under s. 50.04 (2t) or 50.035 (5); or to a sheriff, police department, or district attorney for death investigations under s. 51.64 (2) (a).
55.043(6)(bt)5. 5. To an employee of the county department under s. 51.42 or 51.437 that is providing services to an adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record, or to the alleged perpetrator of abuse, to determine whether the alleged victim should be transferred to a less restrictive or more appropriate treatment modality or facility.
55.043(6)(bt)6. 6. To a court, tribal court, or state governmental agency for a proceeding relating to the licensure or regulation of an individual or entity regulated or licensed by the state governmental agency, that was an alleged perpetrator of abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect.
55.043(6)(bt)7. 7. To the department, for management, audit, program monitoring, evaluation, billing, or collection purposes.
55.043(6)(bt)8. 8. To the attorney or guardian ad litem for the adult at risk who is the alleged victim named in the record, to assist in preparing for any proceeding under this chapter or ch. 48, 51, 54, 813, 971, or 975 pertaining to the alleged victim.
55.043(6)(bt)9. 9. To a coroner, medical examiner, pathologist, or other physician investigating the cause of death of an adult at risk that is unexplained or unusual or is associated with unexplained or suspicious circumstances.
55.043(6)(bt)10. 10. To staff members of the protection and advocacy agency designated under s. 51.62 and the board on aging and long-term care under s. 16.009.
55.043(6)(bt)11. 11. To an agency, including a probation or parole agency, that is legally responsible for the supervision of an alleged perpetrator of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an adult at risk.
55.043(6)(bt)12. 12. To a grand jury, if it determines that access to specified records is necessary for the conduct of its official business.
55.043(6)(bt)13. 13. Under a lawful order of a court of record.
55.043(6)(bv) (bv) The identity of a person making a report of alleged abuse, neglect, self-neglect, or financial exploitation shall be deleted from any record prior to its release under par. (bt) or from any departmental report form prior to its release under par. (b). The identity of any reporter may only be released with the written consent of the reporter or under a lawful order of a court of record.
55.043(6)(bw) (bw) A person to whom a departmental report form or a record is disclosed under this subsection may not further disclose it, except to the persons and for the purposes specified in this subsection.
55.043(6)(by) (by) A custodian of records or departmental report forms incurs no civil or criminal liability under this subsection and may not be found guilty of unprofessional conduct for the release or nonrelease of records or departmental report forms in accordance with this subsection while acting in good faith and within the scope of his or her authority.
55.043(7) (7)Exception. Nothing in this section may be construed to mean that a person is abused, financially exploited, neglected, or in need of direct or protective services solely because he or she consistently relies upon treatment by spiritual means through prayer for healing in lieu of medical care in accordance with his or her religious tradition.
55.043(8) (8)Department duties.
55.043(8)(a) (a) The department shall develop a plan to assist adult-at-risk agencies in determining appropriate responses to reports of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect.
55.043(8)(b) (b) The department shall prepare and distribute sample departmental report forms for use by adult-at-risk agencies.
55.043(8)(c) (c) The department shall collect statistical information from each county pertaining to each reported case of abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect. The department may require adult-at-risk agency workers or investigators to submit departmental report forms to the department that summarize the information being reported. These departmental report forms may not name or otherwise identify individuals. The department shall use this information to review the effectiveness of this section, to plan program changes, and to formulate reports.
55.043(8)(d) (d) The department shall develop and disseminate information on adult-at-risk abuse and the adult-at-risk reporting system under this section. The department shall also develop informational materials to be used by adult-at-risk agencies regarding abuse of adults at risk and regarding the adult-at-risk abuse reporting system. The department shall solicit contributions of labor, materials, and expertise from private sources to assist in developing the informational materials.
55.043(9m) (9m)Penalties.
55.043(9m)(a) (a) Any person, including the state or any political subdivision of the state, violating sub. (6) is liable to any person damaged as a result of the violation for such damages as may be proved, together with exemplary damages of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each violation and the costs and reasonable actual attorney fees that are incurred by the person damaged.
55.043(9m)(b) (b) In any action brought under par. (a) in which the court determines that the violator acted in a manner that was knowing and willful, the violator shall be liable for such damages as may be proved together with exemplary damages of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each violation, together with costs and reasonable actual attorney fees as may be incurred. It is not a prerequisite to an action under par. (a) that the plaintiff suffer or be threatened with actual damages.
55.043(9m)(c) (c) An individual may bring an action to enjoin any violation of sub. (6) or to compel compliance with sub. (6), and may in the same action seek damages as provided in this subsection. The individual may recover costs and reasonable actual attorney fees incurred in the action, if he or she prevails.
55.043(9m)(d) (d) Whoever violates sub. (1m) (c) 1. may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months or both.
55.043(9m)(e) (e) Whoever intentionally violates sub. (1m) (b) by failure to report as required may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.
55.043 Note NOTE: 2005 Wis. Act 388 made major revisions to this section and contains extensive explanatory notes.
55.045 55.045 Funding. Except as provided in s. 49.45 (30m) (a), the appropriate county department 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 individuals who are provided protective placement or who receive protective services under this chapter, including reasonable expenses for the evaluations required by s. 55.11. 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 an individual who is provided protective placement or receives protective services under this chapter provide reimbursement for services or care and custody received, based on the ability of the individual to pay for such costs.
55.045 History History: 1995 a. 92; 1999 a. 32; 2003 a. 33; 2005 a. 264.
55.05 55.05 Voluntary protective services.
55.05(1)(1)Preference. The department in administering the protective services program shall contract with county departments and other agencies. If the county department contracts for protective services, the department and the county departments shall give preference to an agency with consumer and other citizen representation. The department shall provide services only if no other suitable agency is available. Courts shall adhere to the same preferences in ordering protective services.
55.05(2) (2)Conditions required. The department or a county department or agency with which the county department contracts under s. 55.02 (2) that provides protective services may provide the services under any of the following conditions:
55.05(2)(a) (a) An individual who needs or believes he or she needs protective services requests the services.
55.05(2)(b) (b) An interested person requests protective services on behalf of an individual in need of services. A guardian may request and consent to protective services on behalf of the guardian's ward. An agent under an activated power of attorney for health care may request and consent to protective services on behalf of the agent's principal.
55.05(3) (3)Voluntary protective services preferred. An individual shall receive protective services voluntarily unless ordered by the court under s. 55.12, requested by the individual's guardian or agent under an activated power of attorney for health care, or provided on an emergency basis in accordance with s. 55.13.
55.055 55.055 Admissions initially made without court involvement.
55.055(1)(1)
55.055(1)(a) (a) The guardian of an individual who has been adjudicated incompetent may consent to the individual's admission to a foster home, group home, or community-based residential facility, as defined under s. 50.01 (1g), without a protective placement order under s. 55.12 if the home or facility is licensed for fewer than 16 beds. Prior to providing that consent, and annually thereafter, the guardian shall review the ward's right to the least restrictive residential environment and may consent only to admission to a home or facility that implements that right.
55.055(1)(b) (b) The guardian of an individual who has been adjudicated incompetent may consent to the individual's admission to a nursing home or other facility not specified in par. (a) for which protective placement is otherwise required for a period not to exceed 60 days. In order to be admitted under this paragraph, the individual must be in need of recuperative care or be unable to provide for his or her own care or safety so as to create a serious risk of substantial harm to himself or herself or others. Prior to providing that consent, the guardian shall review the ward's right to the least restrictive residential environment and consent only to admission to a nursing home or other facility that implements that right. Following the 60-day period, the admission may be extended for an additional 60 days if a petition for protective placement under s. 55.075 has been brought, or, if no petition for protective placement under s. 55.075 has been brought, for an additional 30 days for the purpose of allowing the initiation of discharge planning for the individual. Admission under this paragraph is not permitted for an individual for whom the primary purpose of admission is for treatment or services related to the individual's mental illness or developmental disability.
55.055(1)(c) (c) The guardian of a ward who has been found incompetent in a state other than this state may consent to admission of the ward under par. (a) or (b) if the ward is currently a resident of this state. A petition to transfer a foreign guardianship and, if applicable, a petition for protective placement shall be filed in this state within 60 days after the ward's admission under this paragraph.
55.055(1)(d) (d) A resident of this state who is the guardian of a ward who has been found incompetent in, and resides in, a state other than this state may consent to an admission of the ward under par. (a) or (b) if the guardian intends to move the ward to this state within 30 days after the consent to the admission. A petition to transfer a foreign guardianship and, if applicable, a petition for protective placement shall be filed in this state within 60 days after a ward's admission under this paragraph.
55.055(2) (2)
55.055(2)(a)(a) In this subsection, “facility" means any of the following:
55.055(2)(a)1. 1. A group home.
55.055(2)(a)2. 2. A foster home.
55.055(2)(a)3. 3. A community-based residential facility, as defined in s. 50.01 (1g).
55.055(2)(a)4. 4. An adult family home, as defined in s. 50.01 (1).
55.055(2)(a)5. 5. A nursing home, as defined in s. 50.01 (3).
55.055(2)(b) (b) Whenever a petition for guardianship on the ground of incompetency is filed with respect to an individual who resides in a facility licensed for 16 or more beds, a petition for protective placement of the individual shall also be filed. The individual may continue to reside in the facility until the court issues a decision on the petition for guardianship and protective placement of the individual. Thereafter, the individual may continue to reside in the facility only if the court's order under s. 55.12 specifies protective placement of the individual in a facility licensed for 16 or more beds.
55.055(3) (3)If an individual admitted under sub. (1) verbally objects to or otherwise actively protests such an admission, the person in charge of the home, nursing home, or other facility shall immediately notify the county department for the county in which the individual is living. Representatives of that county department shall visit the individual as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after notification, and do the following:
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2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 367 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders filed before and in effect on December 1, 2018. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after December 1, 2018 are designated by NOTES. (Published 12-1-18)