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Sacramento Oracle

Beyond the Call in Adult Protective Services

May 23, 2024 11:27AM ● By Sacramento County News Release

Irene Chu has been working for the County for 27 years. Photo courtesy of Sacramento County


SACRAMENTO COUNTY, CA (MPG) - This month, Sacramento County Department of Child, Family and Adult Services (DCFAS) is celebrating employee, Irene Chu, as part of the video and story series “Beyond the Call: Chronicles of Compassion in Child, Family and Adult Services.”

Having started her career with the County in Child Protective Services, Irene eventually transitioned to working with older adults through Adult Protective Services (APS). Irene has over 27 years of experience working for the County. Her background in counseling helps give her a unique perspective, allowing her to engage with clients and guide them through decision-making processes.

“The mission of Adult Protective Services​ is to protect the health and safety of older adults and dependent adults in our community in the least restrictive environment,” Irene explains. That mission involves a delicate balance of advocating for their well-being while also respecting their autonomy and choices.

Irene wants people to know that APS operates under regulations that encourage employees to respect the rights of older adults while addressing issues such as self-neglect, which is a unique challenge.

“Self-neglect cases require a nuanced approach,” Irene said. This is because self-neglect cases highlight the complex nature of ensuring the safety of someone while still honoring their boundaries and individual agency. Self-neglect is when someone doesn’t take care of their basic needs like personal hygiene or eating. Self-neglect can have many underlying causes including depression, isolation, or an underlying condition like undiagnosed Alzheimer’s disease. Irene said APS workers encourage clients to weigh the pros and cons to decide whether they want help for self-neglect.

“Ultimately, we let them [the client] make the decision. Because ultimately, they have to feel that they own it, they have the ownership of that choice,” Irene explains. 

As a Program Planner, Irene’s job goes far beyond advocating for older and disabled adults. She helps newer staff members as they learn the ropes, provides presentations, runs statistical reports, and writes and monitors contracts. Currently, Irene is also handling a housing project that helps shelter older adults through rehousing and homeless prevention services. The project, called HomeSafe, showcases Irene’s commitment to providing innovative solutions to address issues in her community.

Reflecting on her 27 years with the County, Irene says she is grateful for her career. These experiences helped her professionally and allowed her to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those she serves. As Irene continues her work, she hopes sharing her story will encourage others to seek out a long-lasting career with Sacramento County.

“I really like it so much because I really enjoy all the opportunities that I was given through the years,” Irene said.

DCFAS is proud of the dedication and passion that Irene and many other employees demonstrate. Irene is a shining example of going beyond the call, and that is why the County is happy to feature her in the ongoing video series “Beyond the Call: Chronicles of Compassion in Child, Family and Adult Services.”

Throughout the year, the County will continue to explore different roles within DCFAS, share how workers use their personal experience to better serve those in need, and teach people about the ongoing efforts DCFAS makes to serve Sacramento County.