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Legal Statutes: Wyoming

UPDATED December 23, 2016

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Chapter 20. Adult Protective Services

back to top35-20-102. Definitions

(a) As used in this act:

(i) “Abandonment” means leaving a vulnerable adult without financial support or the means or ability to obtain food, clothing, shelter or health care;

(ii) “Abuse” means the intentional or reckless infliction, by the vulnerable adult's caregiver, person of trust or authority, professional, family member or other individual of:

(A) Injury;

(B) Unreasonable confinement which threatens the welfare and well being of a vulnerable adult;

(C) Cruel punishment with resulting physical or emotional harm or pain to a vulnerable adult;

(D) Photographing vulnerable adults in violation of W.S. 6-4-304(b);

(E) Sexual abuse;

(F) Intimidation; or

(G) Exploitation.

(iii) “Administrator” means the director of the department of family services or his designee;

(iv) “Caregiver” means any person or in-home service provider responsible for the care of a vulnerable adult because of:

(A) A family relationship;

(B) Voluntary assumption of responsibility for care;

(C) Court ordered responsibility or placement;

(D) Rendering services in an adult workshop or adult residential program;

(E) Rendering services in an institution or in a community-based program; or

(F) Acceptance of a legal obligation or responsibility to the vulnerable adult through a power of attorney, advanced health care directive or other legal designation.

(v) “Court” means the district court in the district where the vulnerable adult resides or is found;

(vi) Repealed by Laws 2002, Sp. & Bud. Sess., ch. 86, § 3, eff. July 1, 2002.

(vii) “Department” means the state department of family services or its designee;

(viii) “Emergency services” means those services that may be provided to assist vulnerable adults to prevent or terminate abuse, neglect, exploitation, intimidation or abandonment until the emergency has been resolved;

(ix) “Exploitation” means the reckless or intentional act taken by any person, or any use of the power of attorney, conservatorship or guardianship of a vulnerable adult, to:

(A) Obtain control through deception, harassment, intimidation or undue influence over the vulnerable adult's money, assets or property with the intention of permanently or temporarily depriving the vulnerable adult of the ownership, use, benefit or possession of his money, assets or property;

(B) In the absence of legal authority:

(I) Employ the services of a third party for the profit or advantage of the person or another person to the detriment of a vulnerable adult;

(II) Force, compel, coerce or entice a vulnerable adult to perform services for the profit or advantage of another against the will of the vulnerable adult.

(C) Intentionally misuse the principal's property and, in so doing, adversely affect the principal's ability to receive health care or pay bills for basic needs or obligations; or

(D) Abuse the fiduciary duty under a power of attorney, conservatorship or guardianship.

(x) Repealed by Laws 2002, Sp. & Bud. Sess., ch. 86, § 3.

(xi) “Neglect” means the deprivation of, or failure to provide, the minimum food, shelter, clothing, supervision, physical and mental health care, other care and prescribed medication as necessary to maintain a vulnerable adult's life or health, or which may result in a life-threatening situation. The withholding of health care from a vulnerable adult is not neglect if:

(A) Treatment is given in good faith by spiritual means alone, through prayer, by a duly accredited practitioner in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination;

(B) The withholding of health care is in accordance with a declaration executed pursuant to W.S. 35-22-401 through 35-22-416; or

(C) Care is provided by a hospice licensed in accordance with and pursuant to W.S. 35-2-901 through 35-2-910.

(xii) “Protective services” means those emergency services that are provided in a coordinated effort facilitated by the department within communities to assist vulnerable adults to prevent or terminate abuse, neglect, exploitation, intimidation or abandonment until the vulnerable adult no longer needs those services. These services may include social casework, case management, emergency, short term in-home services such as homemaker, personal care or chore services, day care, social services, psychiatric or health evaluations and other emergency services consistent with this act;

(xiii) Repealed by Laws 2002, Sp. & Bud. Sess., ch. 86, § 3.

(xiv) “Capacity to consent” means the ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of making decisions concerning one's person, including, provisions for health or mental health care, food, shelter, clothing, safety or financial affairs. This determination may be based on assessment or investigative findings, observation or medical or mental health evaluations;

(xv) “Injury” means any harm, including disfigurement, impairment of any bodily organ, skin bruising, laceration, bleeding, burn, fracture or dislocation of any bone, subdural hematoma, malnutrition, dehydration or pressure sores;

(xvi) “Mental disability” means a condition causing mental dysfunction resulting in an inability to manage resources, carry out the activities of daily living or protect oneself from neglect, abuse, exploitation or hazardous situations without assistance from others. Whether or not a mental dysfunction of such degree exists is subject to an evaluation by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or other qualified licensed mental health professional or licensed physician, if disputed;

(xvii) “Self neglect” means when a vulnerable adult is unable, due to physical or mental disability, or refuses to perform essential self-care tasks, including providing essential food, clothing, shelter or medical care, obtaining goods and services necessary to maintain physical health, mental health, emotional well-being and general safety, or managing financial affairs;

(xviii) “Vulnerable adult” means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older who is unable to manage and take care of himself or his money, assets or property without assistance as a result of advanced age or physical or mental disability;

(xix) “Substantiated report” means any report of abandonment, abuse, exploitation, intimidation or neglect pursuant to this act that is determined upon investigation to establish by a preponderance of the evidence the alleged abandonment, abuse, exploitation, intimidation or neglect;

(xx) “Intimidation” means the communication by word or act to a vulnerable adult that he, his family, friends or pets will be deprived of food, shelter, clothing, supervision, prescribed medication, physical or mental health care and other medical care necessary to maintain a vulnerable adult's health, financial support or will suffer physical violence;

(xxi) “Advanced age” means a person who is sixty (60) years of age or older;

(xxii) “Sexual abuse” means sexual contact including, but not limited to, unwanted touching, all types of sexual assault or battery as defined in W.S. 6-2-302 through 6-2-304, sexual exploitation and sexual photographing;

(xxiii) “This act” means W.S. 35-20-101 through 35-20-116.

 

Laws 1981, ch. 155, § 1; Laws 1985, ch. 125, § 2; Laws 1986, ch. 116, § 1; Laws 1987, ch. 148, § 1; Laws 1991, ch. 221, § 2;Laws 1992, Sp. & Bud. Sess., ch. 67, § 1; Laws 1993, ch. 1, § 1; Laws 1995, ch. 182, § 1, eff. March 1, 1995; Laws 2002, Sp. & Bud. Sess., ch. 86, §§ 2, 3, eff. July 1, 2002; Laws 2005, ch. 161, § 2, eff. July 1, 2005; Laws 2007, ch. 209, § 1, eff. July 1, 2007;Laws 2011, ch. 68, § 1, eff. July 1, 2011; Laws 2013, ch. 142, § 1, eff. July 1, 2013.