Protection of the Abused, Neglected or Exploited Disabled Adult Act.
§ 108A-99. Short title.
This Article may be cited as the "Protection of the Abused, Neglected, or Exploited Disabled Adult Act." (1973, c. 1378; s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-100. Legislative intent and purpose.
Determined to protect the increasing number of disabled adults in North Carolina who are abused, neglected, or exploited, the General Assembly enacts this Article to provide protective services for such persons. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-101. Definitions.
(a) The word "abuse" means the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain mental and physical health.
(b) The word "caretaker" shall mean an individual who has the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult as a result of family relationship or who has assumed the responsibility for the care of the disabled adult voluntarily or by contract.
(c) The word "director" shall mean the director of the county department of social services in the county in which the person resides or is present, or his representative as authorized in G.S. 108A-14.
(d) The words "disabled adult" shall mean any person 18 years of age or over or any lawfully emancipated minor who is present in the State of North Carolina and who is physically or mentally incapacitated due to an intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy or autism; organic brain damage caused by advanced age or other physical degeneration in connection therewith; or due to conditions incurred at any age which are the result of accident, organic brain damage, mental or physical illness, or continued consumption or absorption of substances.
(e) A "disabled adult" shall be "in need of protective services" if that person, due to his physical or mental incapacity, is unable to perform or obtain for himself essential services and if that person is without able, responsible, and willing persons to perform or obtain for his essential services.
(f) The words "district court" shall mean the judge of that court.
(g) The word "emergency" refers to a situation where (i) the disabled adult is in substantial danger of death or irreparable harm if protective services are not provided immediately, (ii) the disabled adult is unable to consent to services, (iii) no responsible, able, or willing caretaker is available to consent to emergency services, and (iv) there is insufficient time to utilize procedure provided in G.S. 108A-105.
(h) The words "emergency services" refer to those services necessary to maintain the person's vital functions and without which there is reasonable belief that the person would suffer irreparable harm or death. This may include taking physical custody of the disabled person.
(i) The words "essential services" shall refer to those social, medical, psychiatric, psychological or legal services necessary to safeguard the disabled adult's rights and resources and to maintain the physical or mental well-being of the individual. These services shall include, but not be limited to, the provision of medical care for physical and mental health needs, assistance in personal hygiene, food, clothing, adequately heated and ventilated shelter, protection from health and safety hazards, protection from physical mistreatment, and protection from exploitation. The words "essential services" shall not include taking the person into physical custody without his consent except as provided for in G.S. 108A-106 and in Chapter 122C of the General Statutes.
(j) The word "exploitation" means the illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for another's profit or advantage.
(k) The word "indigent" shall mean indigent as defined in G.S. 7A-450.
(l) The words "lacks the capacity to consent" shall mean lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person, including but not limited to provisions for health or mental health care, food, clothing, or shelter, because of physical or mental incapacity. This may be reasonably determined by the director or he may seek a physician's or psychologist's assistance in making this determination.
(m) The word "neglect" refers to a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for himself or herself the services which are necessary to maintain the person's mental or physical health or is not receiving services from the person's caretaker. A person is not receiving services from his caretaker if, among other things and not by way of limitation, the person is a resident of one of the State-owned psychiatric hospitals listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(1), the State-owned Developmental Centers listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(2), or the State-owned Neuro-Medical Treatment Centers listed in G.S. 122C-181(a)(3), the person is, in the opinion of the professional staff of that State-owned facility, mentally incompetent to give consent to medical treatment, the person has no legal guardian appointed pursuant to Chapter 35A, or guardian as defined in G.S. 122C-3(15), and the person needs medical treatment.
(n) The words "protective services" shall mean services provided by the State or other government or private organizations or individuals which are necessary to protect the disabled adult from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. They shall consist of evaluation of the need for service and mobilization of essential services on behalf of the disabled adult. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1979, c. 1044, ss. 1-4; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 34; 1987, c. 550, s. 24; 1989, c. 770, s. 29; 1991, c. 258, s. 2; 2007-177, s. 4; 2019-76, s. 14.)
§ 108A-102. Duty to report; content of report; immunity.
(a) Any person having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services shall report such information to the director.
(b) The report may be made orally or in writing. The report shall include the name and address of the disabled adult; the name and address of the disabled adult's caretaker; the age of the disabled adult; the nature and extent of the disabled adult's injury or condition resulting from abuse or neglect; and other pertinent information.
(c) Anyone who makes a report pursuant to this statute, who testifies in any judicial proceeding arising from the report, or who participates in a required evaluation shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability on account of such report or testimony or participation, unless such person acted in bad faith or with a malicious purpose. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-103. Duty of director upon receiving report.
(a) Any director receiving a report that a disabled adult is in need of protective services shall make a prompt and thorough evaluation to determine whether the disabled adult is in need of protective services and what services are needed. The evaluation shall include a visit to the person and consultation with others having knowledge of the facts of the particular case. When necessary for a complete evaluation of the report, the director shall have the authority to review and copy any and all records, or any part of such records, related to the care and treatment of the disabled adult that have been maintained by any individual, facility or agency acting as a caretaker for the disabled adult. This shall include but not be limited to records maintained by facilities licensed by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Use of information so obtained shall be subject to and governed by the provisions of G.S. 108A-80 and Article 3 of Chapter 122C of the General Statutes. The director shall have the authority to conduct an interview with the disabled adult with no other persons present. After completing the evaluation the director shall make a written report of the case indicating whether he believes protective services are needed and shall notify the individual making the report of his determination as to whether the disabled adult needs protective services.
(b) The staff and physicians of local health departments, area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse authorities, and other public or private agencies shall cooperate fully with the director in the performance of his duties. These duties include immediate accessible evaluations and in-home evaluations where the director deems this necessary.
(c) The director may contract with an agency or private physician for the purpose of providing immediate accessible medical evaluations in the location that the director deems most appropriate.
(d) The director shall initiate the evaluation described in subsection (a) of this section as follows:
(1) Immediately upon receipt of the complaint if the complaint alleges a danger of death in an emergency as defined in G.S. 108A-101(g).
(2) Within 24 hours if the complaint alleges danger of irreparable harm in an emergency as defined by G.S. 108A-101(g).
(3) Within 72 hours if the complaint does not allege danger of death or irreparable harm in an emergency as defined by G.S. 108A-101(g).
(4) Repealed by Session Laws 2000, c. 131, s. 1.
The evaluation shall be completed within 30 days for allegations of abuse or neglect and within 45 days for allegations of exploitation. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1985, c. 589, s. 35; c. 658, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 863, s. 6; 1991, c. 636, s. 19(c); 1997-443, s. 11A.118(a); 1999-334, s. 1.10; 2000-131, s. 1.)
§ 108A-104. Provision of protective services with the consent of the person; withdrawal of consent; caretaker refusal.
(a) If the director determines that a disabled adult is in need of protective services, he shall immediately provide or arrange for the provision of protective services, provided that the disabled adult consents.
(b) When a caretaker of a disabled adult who consents to the receipt of protective services refuses to allow the provision of such services to the disabled adult, the director may petition the district court for an order enjoining the caretaker from interfering with the provision of protective services to the disabled adult. The petition must allege specific facts sufficient to show that the disabled adult is in need of protective services and consents to the receipt of protective services and that the caretaker refuses to allow the provision of such services. If the judge finds by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the disabled adult is in need of protective services and consents to the receipt of protective services and that the caretaker refuses to allow the provision of such services, he may issue an order enjoining the caretaker from interfering with the provision of protective services to the disabled adult.
(c) If a disabled adult does not consent to the receipt of protective services, or if he withdraws his consent, the services shall not be provided. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-105. Provision of protective services to disabled adults who lack the capacity to consent; hearing, findings, etc.
(a) If the director reasonably determines that a disabled adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited and lacks capacity to consent to protective services, then the director may petition the district court for an order authorizing the provision of protective services. The petition must allege specific facts sufficient to show that the disabled adult is in need of protective services and lacks capacity to consent to them.
(b) The court shall set the case for hearing within 14 days after the filing of the petition. The disabled adult must receive at least five days' notice of the hearing. He has the right to be present and represented by counsel at the hearing. If the person, in the determination of the judge, lacks the capacity to waive the right to counsel, then a guardian ad litem shall be appointed pursuant to G.S. 1A-1, Rule 17, and rules adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense Services. If the person is indigent, the cost of representation shall be borne by the State.
(c) If, at the hearing, the judge finds by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the disabled adult is in need of protective services and lacks capacity to consent to protective services, he may issue an order authorizing the provision of protective services. This order may include the designation of an individual or organization to be responsible for the performing or obtaining of essential services on behalf of the disabled adult or otherwise consenting to protective services in his behalf. Within 60 days from the appointment of such an individual or organization, the court will conduct a review to determine if a petition should be initiated in accordance with Chapter 35A; for good cause shown, the court may extend the 60 day period for an additional 60 days, at the end of which it shall conduct a review to determine if a petition should be initiated in accordance with Chapter 35A. No disabled adult may be committed to a mental health facility under this Article.
(d) A determination by the court that a person lacks the capacity to consent to protective services under the provisions of this Chapter shall in no way affect incompetency proceedings as set forth in Chapters 33, 35 or 122 of the General Statutes of North Carolina, or any other proceedings, and incompetency proceedings as set forth in Chapters 33, 35, or 122 shall have no conclusive effect upon the question of capacity to consent to protective services as set forth in this Chapter. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1977, c. 725, s. 3, 1979, c. 1044, s. 5; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1985, c. 658, s. 2; 1987, c. 550, s. 25; 2000-144, s. 36.)
§ 108A-106. Emergency intervention; findings by court; limitations; contents of petition; notice of petition; court authorized entry of premises; immunity of petitioner.
(a) Upon petition by the director, a court may order the provision of emergency services to a disabled adult after finding that there is reasonable cause to believe that:
(1) A disabled adult lacks capacity to consent and that he is in need of protective service;
(2) An emergency exists; and
(3) No other person authorized by law or order to give consent for the person is available and willing to arrange for emergency services.
(b) The court shall order only such emergency services as are necessary to remove the conditions creating the emergency. In the event that such services will be needed for more than 14 days, the director shall petition the court in accordance with G.S. 108A-105.
(c) The petition for emergency services shall set forth the name, address, and authority of the petitioner; the name, age and residence of the disabled adult; the nature of the emergency; the nature of the disability if determinable; the proposed emergency services; the petitioner's reasonable belief as to the existence of the conditions set forth in subsection (a) above; and facts showing petitioner's attempts to obtain the disabled adult's consent to the services.
(d) Notice of the filing of such petition and other relevant information, including the factual basis of the belief that emergency services are needed and a description of the exact services to be rendered shall be given to the person, to his spouse, or if none, to his adult children or next of kin, to his guardian, if any. Such notice shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the hearing of the petition for emergency intervention; provided, however, that the court may issue immediate emergency order ex parte upon finding as fact (i) that the conditions specified in G.S. 108A-106(a) exist; (ii) that there is likelihood that the disabled adult may suffer irreparable injury or death if such order be delayed; and (iii) that reasonable attempts have been made to locate interested parties and secure from them such services or their consent to petitioner's provision of such service; and such order shall contain a show-cause notice to each person upon whom served directing such person to appear immediately or at any time up to and including the time for the hearing of the petition for emergency services and show cause, if any exists, for the dissolution or modification of the said order. Copies of the said order together with such other appropriate notices as the court may direct shall be issued and served upon all of the interested parties designated in the first sentence of this subsection. Unless dissolved by the court for good cause shown, the emergency order ex parte shall be in effect until the hearing is held on the petition for emergency services. At such hearing, if the court determines that the emergency continues to exist, the court may order the provision of emergency services in accordance with subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
(e) Where it is necessary to enter a premises without the disabled adult's consent after obtaining a court order in compliance with subsection (a) above, the representative of the petitioner shall do so.
(f) (1) Upon petition by the director, a court may order that:
a. The disabled adult's financial records be made available at a certain day and time for inspection by the director or his designated agent; and
b. The disabled adult's financial assets be frozen and not withdrawn, spent or transferred without prior order of the court.
(2) Such an order shall not issue unless the court first finds that there is reasonable cause to believe that:
a. A disabled adult lacks the capacity to consent and that he is in need of protective services;
b. The disabled adult is being financially exploited by his caretaker; and
c. No other person is able or willing to arrange for protective services.
(3) Provided, before any such inspection is done, the caretaker and every financial institution involved shall be given notice and a reasonable opportunity to appear and show good cause why this inspection should not be done. And, provided further, that any order freezing assets shall expire ten days after such inspection is completed, unless the court for good cause shown, extends it.
(g) No petitioner shall be held liable in any action brought by the disabled adult if the petitioner acted in good faith. (1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1; 1985, c. 658, s. 3.)
§ 108A-107. Motion in the cause.
Notwithstanding any finding by the court of lack of capacity of the disabled adult to consent, the disabled adult or the individual or organization designated to be responsible for the disabled adult shall have the right to bring a motion in the cause for review of any order issued pursuant to this Article. (1973, c. 1378, s. 1; 1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-108. Payment for essential services.
At the time the director, in accordance with the provisions of G.S. 108A-103 makes an evaluation of the case reported, then it shall be determined, according to regulations set by the Social Services Commission, whether the individual is financially capable of paying for the essential services. If he is, he shall make reimbursement for the costs of providing the needed essential services. If it is determined that he is not financially capable of paying for such essential services, they shall be provided at no cost to the recipient of the services. (1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-109. Reporting abuse.
Upon finding evidence indicating that a person has abused, neglected, or exploited a disabled adult, the director shall notify the district attorney. (1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-110. Funding of protective services.
Any funds appropriated by counties for home health care, boarding home, nursing home, emergency assistance, medical or psychiatric evaluations, and other protective services and for the development and improvement of a system of protective services, including additional staff, may be matched by State and federal funds. Such funds shall be utilized by the county department of social services for the benefit of disabled adults in need of protective services. (1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)
§ 108A-111. Adoption of standards.
The Department and the administrative office of the court shall adopt standards and other procedures and guidelines with forms to insure the effective implementation of the provisions of this Article. (1975, c. 797; 1981, c. 275, s. 1.)