Adult Protective Service Worker Program (APSW)

The Adult Protective Service Worker Program is funded by The Ministry of Community and Social Services.

The Advocacy Planning and Support Worker (APSW) supports adults with developmental disabilities to participate in all aspects of community life (education, employment, recreation, home and social planning).  The individual and their support network design and direct the ways in which this happens.

The APSW fulfills the following roles for adults with developmental disabilities:

  • Individual advocacy and rights support.
  • Personal planning support.
  • Support in the co-ordination of resources and the development of personal support networks.
  • Financial support including voluntary trusteeships.
  • Community development and education with and on behalf of adults with disabilities, their families and significant others.
  • While some contacts may be brief, generally the service relies on the development of a trusting and empowering relationship between the individual/family and the APSW.


The APSW may advocate along with or on behalf of people whose rights to services or opportunities may actually or potentially be limited.  This includes advising people of their choices and/or rights and responsibilities and/or potential consequences.  This may include but not be limited to assistance in contacting an MPP, writing letters, making phone calls, obtaining a lawyer, interfacing with Children's Aid Societies or other service providers, landlords, employers, schools, family members, etc.

The style of advocacy is intended to be non-confrontational and relies heavily on mediation and conflict resolution skills.

The ultimate goal is to promote and support self-advocacy for the individual.

People with similar concerns or interests may be supported to organize and advocate as a group, for the individual.

Some systemic advocacy is achieved around issues affecting all people with disabilities through involvement with our provincial association and participation on various local and provincial committees aimed at system change.

Planning and Personal Support

All referrals to the APSW program are completed by Developmental Services Ontario.

The focus in a crisis situation is to respond to immediate need.  In non-crisis situations, or once the crisis is resolved, the individual will be supported to develop a more long term plan which maximizes their personal, family and community resources. The individual will be supported throughout this process, and assisted in developing a personal support network to coordinate resources and support decision making.  The APSW may or may not become a member of this support network depending on the wishes and needs of the individual and/or their support network.

Other kinds of personal support may include many issues ranging from assisting someone in filling out a form to offering supportive counselling to support strategies in crisis situations.

While some contacts may occur in our office, either by appointment or on a drop-in basis, most contact occurs in the community - in people's homes, workplaces, rest and boarding homes, nursing homes, police stations, courts, coffee shops, etc.

The APSW may provide assistance in locating/moving into an apartment, in negotiating "the system" (i.e. trying to function in a maze of services and bureaucratic procedures can be confusing and overwhelming), in dealing with the judicial system (getting legal aid/lawyer, going to court, involving police).  Crisis intervention may result from a number of events - an aging or dying family member; allegations of abuse or neglect by family or service providers; homelessness, eviction and unemployment.  The APSW will ensure the individual's access to basic necessities of life and their ability to exercise their legal rights.  Every effort is made to respect and support the individual's relationship to significant others - family, friends, etc.

Financial Supports - Trusteeship

Every effort is made to support the individual in managing their own finances - i.e. budgeting support, education regarding spending, grocery shopping, etc.

The APSW may enlist the trustee program as part of the service plan development for the individual. The budget is determined in consultation with the individual.  The trustee agreement is voluntary and may be altered or terminated at any time if the individual wishes to take on more financial responsibility because of increased skills in the area or for any other reason the individual identifies.  Initial requests for trustee support often underlie more complex issues which can be addressed once financial stability is achieved and a relationship has developed.  For further information about the APSW program contact Family Service Windsor-Essex County at 519-966-5010 or by e-mail at

Spotlight on Transformation  - A Developmental Services Bulletin from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Services offered in French / Les services sont offerts en français

Family Services Windsor-Essex Counselling & Advocacy Centre: 1770 Langlois Ave, Windsor, ON N8X4M5

Phone: 519-966-5010 Email:

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