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Over $2.6 Million in 2022 ACL Elder Justice Innovation Grants Address Guardianship; Opioids and Substance Use

September 28, 2022

ACL is proud to award more than $2.6 million in Elder Justice Innovation Grants to enhance protections for the rights of older adults and adults with disabilities who are in, or at risk of, guardianship or conservatorship and to improve adult protective services approaches to cases involving opioids and substance use disorders.

Improving Guardianship/Conservatorship

ACL is awarding $1,999,016 over three years to assess and implement improvements in the handling of the adult guardianship and conservatorship process by state courts. These Elder Justice Innovation Grants are awarded to the highest state courts in Pennsylvania, DC, and Virginia, and are designed to:

  • enhance the fairness, effectiveness, timeliness, safety, and integrity of adult guardianship or conservatorship proceedings;
  • address access to guardianship revocation and alternative pathways and proceedings that promote less restrictive means of supported decision making; and
  • develop innovations to improve the experiences of individuals at risk of guardianship or conservatorship.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts will assess guardianship in Pennsylvania; improve due process, effective monitoring of guardians, and consideration of alternatives; and educate about improvements. Pennsylvania also will promote appointment of counsel for Alleged Incapacitated Persons (AIP), promote alternatives to guardianship, and improve the data collected through Pennsylvania’s Guardianship Tracking System (GTS) to monitor guardians more effectively.

The District of Columbia Courts will assess the fairness, safety, and integrity of the adult guardianship process from petition to court proceeding, appointment, monitoring, and termination. The project seeks to enhance the court’s ability to monitor guardianships by focusing on the evaluation tools used to report the updated status of capacity and the need for continued guardianship.

The Supreme Court of Virginia will improve data collection and data standards; enhance monitoring practices; improve access to justice; support alternatives to guardianship; strengthen case management processes; facilitate data and information sharing; and implement updates to processes and systems statewide. Virginia will develop a Probate and Guardianship Application as an integrated module of the existing statewide circuit court case management system.

Enhancing APS Approaches to Cases Involving Opioids and Substance Use Disorders

This grant seeks to identify effective strategies and solutions to maximize the impact of direct home-and-community-based social, health, and mental/behavioral health services for APS clients impacted by the opioid epidemic and other substance use disorders.

This grant in the amount of $679,018 over two years has been awarded to the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine—in collaboration with the Adult Protective Services programs of Maine and New Hampshire and the Dartmouth Center for Health and Aging. They propose to implement and test RISESUP, a substance use intervention that builds upon and expands RISE; a community-based elder abuse intervention with a demonstrated capacity to collaborate with APS to enhance services for victims of adult maltreatment that caseworkers consider beneficial and complementary. The goal of RISESUP is to enhance services provided and outcomes in cases of adult maltreatment complicated by opioid use and other substance use disorders.

Last modified on 10/03/2022

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