Elder Justice Innovation Grants

Research in the area of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation is still in its infancy. There is relatively little known about risk and protective factors for being a victim or perpetrator, or about effective and evidence-based prevention, intervention, and remediation practices. Further research around the impacts of elder abuse on health and long-term care systems and costs of care is also needed. This fundamental research is required to develop credible benchmarks for elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation prevention or control.

In FY 2016, ACL established the Elder Justice Innovation Grants program 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 every grants. ACL awarded eight grants in FY2016 and five grants in FY2017.

Innovation Grants Awarded in FY2017:

APS Administration Promising Practices Innovation Grants:

  • 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 is training APS workers and community-based professionals on the use of a tool to test this (called the Interview for Decisional Abilities), working with statewide APS professionals to develop consistent policies for integrating the tool into their practice, and creating an implementation toolkit for national dissemination. 

  • The Regents of the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is developing 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 is testing 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 are evaluating outcomes of both interventions.

Responses to Reduce Harm Innovation Grants

  • Center for Elder Law & Justice, Inc. is implementing 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 is testing 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 Innovation Grants

  • The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is testing 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. 

Innovation Grants Awarded in FY2016:

Forensic Center Innovation Grant:

  • The University of Southern California is producing new information on the Elder Abuse Forensic Center (EAFC) model to guide future decision-making about implementation of the model. This grantee is facilitating replication as well as understanding of the model’s components, functions and outcomes. The grant's goal is to collect relevant information on the EAFC model that can be used by all.

Innovation Grant to Address Abuse in Indian Country:

  • The University of North Dakota is providing mini-grants to American Indian Tribes, Alaskan Villages, and Hawaiian Homesteads to support increased awareness, elder abuse policy development, and infrastructure building for reporting, investigation, and intervention to support indigenous elders. UND is collecting data on prevalence of elder abuse in the Tribal community using a tribally-based participatory model.

Innovation Grants to Understand Self-Neglect:

  • The Benjamin Rose Institute is partnering with Texas’ APS system and the WellMed Charitable Foundation to screen individuals in the community and identify individuals potentially at-risk of self-neglect. These individuals are assigned a social worker to coordinate wrap-around supportive services with the goal of preventing self-neglect. The initiative builds on the successes and lessons learned from WellMed’s 2012-2015 Elder Abuse Prevention grant project.

  • Rush University Medical Center, in conjunction with the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging and key stakeholders and social service agencies, is leveraging and expanding on existing research to improve the prediction of elder self–neglect. They are creating a predictive index of self-neglect onset in diverse communities and examining the racial/ethnic differences among several cohorts.

  • The National Adult Protective Service Association is collaborating with various agencies to conduct a five pronged approach to examine self-neglect. The project seeks to improve the understanding of people who self-neglect by identifying characteristics of self-neglecting individuals, factors related to etiology and primary and secondary prevention, triggers, factors correlated with willingness or lack thereof to use services to reduce self-neglect, biological and psychosocial components of self-neglect, and impact of self-neglect on affected individuals. They are also identifing promising approaches to prevent and ameliorate self-neglect and its recurrence. This project includes a literature review and a state-by-state review of APS policies, practices, and tools.

Innovation Grants to Address Abuse in Guardianship:

  • Stark County Probate Court is partnering with Adult Protective Services to develop the Stark County Eldercaring Coordination Program. The program provides conflict mediation assistance to elders and families, expands its Court’s Guardianship Visitor Program through partnerships with other court systems, and evaluates support systems to eliminate the need for guardianship.

  • The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging is collaborating with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), to expand and enhance state Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS). The collaborative effort seeks to improve the ability of state and local guardianship systems to develop protections less restrictive than guardianship and advance guardianship reforms.

  • Volunteers of America Minnesota is developing and establishing a replicable statewide model based on supported decision-making to provide alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship in Minnesota. Minnesota is establishing a Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making to provide training and services including guardianship mediation and other diversion programs utilizing the model.

Last modified on 09/12/2018

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