By Maria Greene, NAMRS Lead, WRMA, Inc and Andrew Capehart, APS Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC) Lead, WRMA, Inc.
December 03, 2018
Data collection among Adult Protective Services (APS) programs across the U.S. is extremely important. Without knowledge of how vast the problem is, it is nearly impossible to determine adequate funding for victim services, prevention, and administration. A single year’s snapshot of the number of victims reported to APS provides a picture of that period in time, but without data on the years before and after it’s impossible to measure trends.
Studies regarding APS data on clients and programs and the need for collection of national data have been completed over the years. In 2000 and 2004, surveys of APS programs were conducted by National Center on Elder Abuse partners. These surveys examined both APS policies and numbers of victims.
Wrapping one’s mind around the national scope of the work APS does is not easy. APS programs vary in scope and size in each state. Since the passage of Title XX of the Social Security Act in 1974, states have developed programs that vary in the populations they serve, the administrative location of the programs, and the laws that govern such things as involuntary intervention. While one state may serve any person with a disability over age 18, another may serve only people over age 60 or 65, depending on the state.
The National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System, or NAMRS, is a data collection system for state APS programs. The goal of NAMRS is to collect and provide consistent, accurate national data on the exploitation and abuse of older people and people with disabilities, as reported to state APS agencies. WRMA administers the NAMRS system under contract from the US Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Community Living.
After a pilot period where nine states submitted data, NAMRS went live for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2016 reporting period across the US. As of FFY 2017, NAMRS has collected data from 98% of the 56 states, district and territories. NAMRS is a voluntary system, meaning states are not required to submit data. Each state that has submitted data has done so knowing the importance of showing the critical work they do.
NAMRS is now in its third submission period. States are submitting more data into the system every year and many states are making changes to their own information technology systems in order to provide more data. The Administration for Community Living has awarded grants to state APS programs to enhance APS systems and improve data collection.
To view the most recent national data reports, for both FFYs 2016 and 2017, visit the NAMRS report page on the ACL website.