ADULT & FAMILIESAdultAdult ProtectionVulnerable Adults   

Vulnerable Adults

Identifying who is a Vulnerable Adult (VA) and what is maltreatment can be challenging for many different reasons. The following information may assist you in understanding vulnerable adult maltreatment reporting.

Who is a Vulnerable Adult?

Categorical Vulnerable Adult:
Any person 18 years of age or older who is a: 
  • Resident or inpatient of a facility, regulated by the State of Minnesota, or
  • Receives services from a facility, regulated by the State of Minnesota, or
  • Recipient of home care services regulated by the State of Minnesota.

Functional Vulnerable Adult:
A person 18 years of age or older who, regardless of residence or service has an impairment or disability, and because of this impairment has:

  • An impaired ability to meet basic needs without assistance, including the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health care or supervision and
  • An impaired ability to protect self from maltreatment.

How is maltreatment defined?


  • Physical: Hitting, slapping, kicking, pinching, biting or corporal punishment
  • Emotional: Repeated or malicious oral, written or gestured language or treatment that would be considered disparaging, derogatory, humiliating, harassing or threatening
  • Mental: unauthorized aversive/deprivation procedures; unreasonable confinement/seclusion
  • Sexual: Criminal sexual conduct 1st – 5th degrees
  • Involuntary Servitude: Forcing, compelling or coercing or enticing a vulnerable adult to provide services for the advantage of another; and
  • Use of drugs to injure or facilitate a crime.


  • Failure or omission to provide for basic needs; food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision
  • Absence of care or services essential to maintain health and safety
  • Neglect may be by caregiver or self-neglect


  • Person has fiduciary relationship: guardian/conservator/power of attorney/joint acct/contract/documented consent/etc and there is unauthorized expenditure of funds or failure to use funds for VA and resulting or likely to result in detriment to VA.
  • Person has No fiduciary relationship and
    • Willfully uses/withholds/disposes of funds/property of VA
    • Obtains for self or another services to the detriment of the VA
    • Acquires possession/control/interest in VA’s property / funds through harassment / undue influence / duress / deception /fraud and
    • Forces / compels / coerces /entices VA to perform services for another’s advantage.

CONTACT: If you suspect maltreatment of a vulnerable adult in St. Louis County contact the Statewide Minnesota Adult Abuse Reporting Center (MAARC) at 844-880-1574.  If you do not reach a worker, leave a message. If your situation is an emergency call 9-1-1 to reach your local law enforcement.

What do I report?

  • Time and date of report
  • Name, address and phone number of reporter
  • Time, date & location of incident
  • Names, addresses, birth date or age of alleged perpetrator & victim
  • Names of witnesses; AND
  • Risk of imminent danger to alleged victim.

For more information visit the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) Adult Protective Services website.