(a) There is continued within the Department of Health and Human Resources the system of adult protective services heretofore existing.
(b) The secretary shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code regarding the organization and duties of the adult protective services system and the procedures to be used by the department to effectuate the purposes of this article. The rules may be amended and supplemented from time to time.
(c) The secretary shall design and arrange such rules to attain, or move toward the attainment, of the following goals to the extent that the secretary believes feasible under the provisions of this article within the state appropriations and other funds available:
(1) Assisting adults who are abused, neglected, financially exploited or incapacitated in achieving or maintaining self-sufficiency and self-support and preventing, reducing and eliminating their dependency on the state;
(2) Preventing, reducing and eliminating neglect, financial exploitation and abuse of adults who are unable to protect their own interests;
(3) Preventing and reducing institutional care of adults by providing less intensive forms of care, preferably in the home;
(4) Referring and admitting abused, neglected, financially exploited or incapacitated adults to institutional care only where other available services are inappropriate;
(5) Providing services and monitoring to adults in institutions designed to assist adults in returning to community settings;
(6) Preventing, reducing and eliminating the exploitation of incapacitated adults and facility residents through the joint efforts of the various agencies of the Department of Health and Human Resources, the adult protective services system, the state and regional long-term care ombudsmen, administrators of nursing homes or other residential facilities and county prosecutors;
(7) Preventing, reducing and eliminating abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of residents in nursing homes or facilities; and
(8) Coordinating investigation activities for complaints of financial exploitation, abuse and neglect of incapacitated adults and facility residents among the various agencies of the Department of Health and Human Resources, the adult protective services system, the state and regional long-term care ombudsmen, administrators of nursing homes or other residential facilities, county prosecutors, if necessary, and other state or federal agencies or officials, as appropriate.
(d) No adult protective services caseworker may be held personally liable for any professional decision or action thereupon arrived at in the performance of his or her official duties as set forth in this section or agency rules promulgated thereupon: Provided, That nothing in this subsection protects any adult protective services worker from any liability arising from the operation of a motor vehicle or for any loss caused by gross negligence, willful and wanton misconduct or intentional misconduct.
(e) The rules proposed by the secretary shall provide for the means by which the department shall cooperate with federal, state and other agencies to fulfill the objectives of the system of adult protective services.