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Elder Abuse Prevention Grant Awarded to NY State Office for the Aging

Three-year federal grant will support a pilot project to prevent financial exploitation and elder abuse

Albany, NY, October 19, 2012 - The New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) Acting Director, Greg Olsen announced today that his office has received a three-year, $1 million Elder Abuse Prevention Interventions Grant from the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) to initiate and test a program to combat financial exploitation and elder abuse in New York.

Elder abuse includes financial exploitation, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect. Financial exploitation, the fastest growing form of elder abuse, accounts for over $2.9 billion dollars a year nationally in losses to people age 60 and older.

The award will support a pilot program in Manhattan and the Finger Lakes region. The pilot developed by NYSOFA and its project partners, NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Weill Cornell Medical Center's New York City Elder Abuse Center (NYCEAC) and Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., will focus on preventing and swiftly intervening in financial exploitation of frail adults aged 60 and older through the use of an enhanced multi-disciplinary team (E-MDT). It will also test new technologies for offering this model in more geographically dispersed rural areas.

The partners will pilot an enhanced multi-disciplinary team (E-MDT) with a unique feature of a forensic accountant, to investigate and intervene in cases of financial exploitation of older adults. The E-MDTs will incorporate a forensic accountant in each pilot site to work with other professionals and specialists, such as Adult Protective Services (APS), area agencies on aging (AAA), and local legal and law enforcement who already work collaboratively to address complex cases of elder financial exploitation and elder abuse. Another main focus will be prevention education and increased collaboration with financial institutions, which often are the front line in detecting financial exploitation.

Greg Olsen said, "This award recognizes that New York is a national leader in developing, implementing and evaluating cutting edge interventions that make a difference. For far too long, older New Yorkers who are victims of abuse have suffered in silence. This project brings together many diverse entities, both public and private, to shine a light on the issues of elder abuse, particularly financial abuse, and will demonstrate that by working together in multi-disciplinary teams and sharing experience, expertise and resources, we can begin to make headway in reducing the incidence of such abuse."

New York State Office for Children & Family Services (OCFS) Commissioner Gladys Carrión, Esq., said: "The financial exploitation of elderly and other impaired adults is unconscionable and won't be tolerated. This grant will support two pilot programs in New York State to find the interventions that work best to prevent the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. The team approach is critical and will involve the state Office for the Aging, local offices for the aging and social services district offices, and other local partners, along with Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City and Lifespan of Greater Rochester. We look forward to working with everyone on this important initiative."

"We know from the NYS Elder Abuse Prevalence Study that financial exploitation is the most prevalent form of abuse. Based on this information, we developed a statewide response to this serious issue. The grant provides us a tremendous opportunity to prevent and to respond rapidly to allegations of financial exploitation and abuse." said Ann Marie Cook, President/CEO of Lifespan and Co-Chair of the NYS Elder Abuse Coalition.

Dr. Mark Lachs, NYCEAC Director explained, "As the phenomena of elder abuse traverses many health and social welfare systems, the problem cannot be treated in a silo." Risa Breckman, LCSW, Deputy Director of NYCEAC states, "Elder justice is fundamentally a human rights issue as freedom from fear and personal safety is at its core. With this crucial HHS funding, we can help restore health and security to victimized older adults and prevent abuse from happening to others."

Information about NYSOFA and its partners for this project can be found below:

NYSOFA's mission is to help older adults be as independent as possible and remain in their homes or communities through the development and delivery of person-centered cost-effective long term services and supports as well as programs and services that support and empower older adults and their families. These programs and services are provided through the network of Area Agencies on Aging; locally based public, not-for-profit and private providers and organizations and other community, county and state level partners.

The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)(External Link) is dedicated to improving the integration of services for New York's children, youth, families and vulnerable populations; to promoting their development; and to protecting them from violence, neglect, abuse and abandonment. The agency provides a system of family support, juvenile justice, child care and child welfare services that promote the safety and well-being of children and adults. Among the operating principles across all program areas are that services should be developmentally appropriate, family-centered and family-driven, community-based, locally responsive, and evidence and outcome based.

The NYC Elder Abuse Center (NYCEAC)(External Link) is a highly collaborative initiative comprised of many NYC government and nonprofit organizations. Launched in 2009, NYCEAC aims to bring innovative solutions to the problem of elder abuse utilizing an unprecedented level of coordination.

Lifespan in Rochester, NY(External Link) is dedicated to providing information, guidance and services that help older adults take on both the challenges and opportunities of longer life. We provide many direct services, we advocate and we guide. We also provide community and professional education.