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Adult Protective Services 

In Buncombe County you can make a Protective Service referral or report by calling (828) 250-5800 anytime, day or night. No appointment is needed.  If it is an emergency, an on-call social worker is available after regular business hours and weekends. If you have any questions you may call or come into our office located at 35 Woodfin Street or 40 Coxe Avenue, Asheville, NC. You may also make the report in writing. You may remain anonymous but we encourage you to give us your name in the event additional information is needed. We are prohibited by statute to disclose the name of the reporter except when law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation related to abuse, neglect or exploitation of the adult; or unless ordered by the court.

For more information about reporting abuse, click here.

Do you have concerns about a disabled adult who is either living in the community or in a licensed facility?

Did you know that there is a law that was enacted in 1975 to protect disabled adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation?

Please read on to understand the state statute and Social Work Services responsibility.

Protection of the Abused, Neglected or Exploited Disabled Adult Act is located under Statute 108A Article 6.

This statute was initiated to protect the increasing number of disabled adults in North Carolina who are being abused, neglected or exploited.

The statute requires that anyone having reason to believe that a disabled person is in need of protective service shall report such information to the director of the Social Work Services.


In Buncombe County you may call (828) 250-5800 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and in an emergency after 5:00 weekdays and weekends. You may also make the report in writing. You may remain anonymous, but we encourage you to give us your name in the event additional information is needed. We are prohibited by the statute to give the reporter's name. A Social Worker is available during the above hours to take the information you provide.

The Social Worker will ask numerous questions of you such as but not limited to adult's name, address, age/date of birth, Social Security number, family/collateral names, how is the person disabled, what are the allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

The questions asked are important to assure that all appropriate services are made available to the adult.

To accept the referral for Protective Services the information provided must state:

  • The adult is physically or mentally incapacitated.
  • The adult is being abused, neglected or exploited. If abused, the abuse must be by a caretaker.
  • The adult is in need of protection.

This specific criteria is important because Protective Services unlike other services provided by Social Work Services is initiated without the consent of the adult.

Once a referral is taken for Protective Services, a Social Worker will be assigned the case. They have anywhere from immediately to 72 hours to respond to the case, depending on the seriousness of the situation.

A Social Worker is responsible for assessment of the situation and determining the need for protection. The assessment includes evaluating six areas:

  • Physical health
  • Mental Health
  • Social Support
  • Activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.
  • Financial Support
  • Physical environment

During the course of the evaluation the Social Worker will talk with the adult, collaterals, and use whatever resources necessary to determine whether the adult is in need of protection.