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ACL Awards Grants to Promote Elder Justice Innovation and Evidence-based Practices

October 18, 2017

ACL recently awarded Elder Justice Innovation Grants totaling nearly $2.2 million to five non-profit organizations to support the development and advancement of emerging practices to prevent and respond to the abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities. These two-year grants seek to improve the well-being of abuse survivors, study outcomes of Adult Protective Services (APS) interventions, and test promising practices related to APS work. A rigorous evaluation component is built into each of these new grants.


Responses to Reduce Harm:

  • Center for Elder Law & Justice, Inc. will implement an Elder Justice Navigator program designed to provide court navigation assistance and coordination of community-based services to older adults who have experienced maltreatment.
  • Rush University will test the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of using simulated video equipment to reduce the frequency and severity of abuse in high-risk populations.

Adult Maltreatment Outcomes Analysis:

  • The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) will test a “proof of concept” by piloting the Identification, Services, and Outcomes (ISO) Matrix, a tool that defines actions and interventions that may reduce risk of abuse in order to increase consistency of APS practice in California.  A mobile application version of the ISO Matrix will be used by APS in San Francisco and Napa counties, and UCSF will measure and evaluate how its use affects client outcomes and APS practice.

APS Administration Promising Practices:

  • The University of Southern California (USC): One of the most important issues that Adult Protective Services workers grapple with is determining what kind of decision-making ability their client, the abused person, has. USC will train APS workers and community-based professionals on the use of a tool to test this (called the Interview for Decisional Abilities), work with statewide APS professionals to develop consistent policies for integrating the tool into their practice, and create an implementation toolkit for national dissemination.
  • The Regents of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) will develop a curriculum and training for APS and community agencies on how to integrate elements of trauma-informed care (TIC) into their practice to reduce the harm caused by elder abuse. Relatively new to the field of elder abuse, trauma-informed care is a framework for service delivery that is grounded in an understanding of the impact of trauma. It recognizes the importance of physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and it works to help victims rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.   UCI also will test integration of a case-management component into their elder abuse forensic center and enhance counseling and legal assistance available to elders experiencing elder abuse.  They will evaluate outcomes of both interventions.


These Elder Justice Innovation Grants build on ACL’s commitment to expanding understanding of abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities.  As part of that commitment, ACL has developed the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS) - the first federal collection of data related to Adult Protective Services, published Federal Voluntary Consensus Guidelines for Adult Protective Services, and has awarded 24 grants to enhance state APS programs since 2015. This is the second round of Elder Justice Innovation Grants made by ACL.  Eight EJIG grants totaling almost $4 million focusing on the issues of guardianship, forensic centers, self-neglect, and abuse in tribal communities were awarded in 2016.

Last modified on 05/06/2020

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