Department for Community Based Services

Standards of Practice Online Manual

25.2 Involuntary Protective Services

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

Department for Community Based Services
Division of Protection and Permanency
Standards of Practice Online Manual
Chapter 25-APS Court
25.2 Involuntary Protective Services

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Legal Authority/Introduction


When filing a petition, depending upon the adult's situation the SSW as a representative of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS/Cabinet) may seek a DPP-252 Emergency Protective Order Ex Parte or file a DPP-251 Emergency Protective Services Order.

A DPP-252 is used when facts indicate the adult’s situation is so dire that the seventy-two (72) hour wait for a hearing on the petition would place the adult at risk of death or serious physical harm.

A DPP-251 is filed when there is some margin of time and the potential consequences to the adult are not as immediate.

The SSW files the DPP-250 Verified Petition for the Provision of Emergency Protective Services with both the DPP-251 and DPP-252


Practice Guidance

  • The SSW may use the following questions in determining if an adult lacks the capacity to consent:
    • Can the adult make and express choices?
    • Can the adult give reasons for the choice?
    • Are the reasons grounded in reality?
    • Does the adult understand the consequences of the decision?
    • Does the adult accept the consequence?
    • Are the adult's responses to questions rational?
    • Are the adult's responses contradictory to behavior or other statements?
    • Are the adult's expectations of what will happen in a certain situation within the realm of possibility or contrary to reality?
    • Are the adult's responses made in context to the situation?
    • What is different about the situation today from any other day, which would require court ordered intervention?
  • The SSW may use the following assessment instruments in determining capacity:
    • Mini mental status examination; or
    • Functional assessment
  • The SSW as a representative of the Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) may seek a restraining order or other injunctive relief to prohibit interference in a protective service investigation or delivery of service. 
  • Prior to seeking injunctive relief or a restraining order, the SSW, FSOS, or designee contacts the Office of Legal Services (OLS) for consultation.
  • If OLS is not available the SSW, FSOS, or designee contacts OLS as soon as possible.


When the client is in need of a DPP-252 Emergency Protective Services Order Ex-Parte

 The SSW:

  1. Conducts a safety and risk review utilization review with an FSOS; 1
  2. Attempts to consult with the OLS;
  3. Presents the circuit or family court with an affidavit or sworn testimony; 2 
  4. Presents specific facts of conclusion to the court that demonstrate the adult is in danger of suffering immediate and irreparable physical harm or death;
  5. Routinely includes in the affidavit or sworn testimony, the need for forcible entry by law enforcement into the home of the adult on whose behalf the involuntary services are sought, and the need for transportation by the emergency medical service; and
  6. Files a petition as soon as possible if an emergency protective order ex-parte is issued.

Prior to filing a DPP-251 Emergency Protective Service Order, the SSW determines that all filing criteria exists and completes the following tasks in order to accomplish this:

  1. Consults with the FSOS and arranges for a joint visit with the FSOS or other supervisory staff as appropriate;
  2. Makes a joint decision with the FSOS as to the appropriateness of requesting a court order;
  3. Conducts a safety and risk review utilization review with the SRA or designee, and FSOS to gain permission to file a petition for a court order;
  4. Consults with available regional office staff or the Adult Protective Services Branch to assist in the process;
  5. Consults with OLS as soon as the decision has been made to seek a court order;
  6. If OLS is unavailable seeks assistance from the county or commonwealth's attorney; and
  7. Reports to the court on a monthly basis when protective services are ordered for longer than one (1) month. 

If OLS is not consulted when the SSW obtains an ex-parte order or petitions the court for an emergency protective service order the SSW:

  1. Forwards a copy of the order or petition to OLS.


  1. Due to the emergent nature of the situation, the DPP-253 APS Safety and Risk Consultation FormAPS Utilization Review Consultation form does not have to be complete prior or during the initial consultation.   
  2. If the circuit or family court judge is not available, a district court judge may be contacted.
  3. The report describes the current circumstances, including the name, place, date, and nature of services provided and, if necessary, justification for continuation of services.


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