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We've Moved!

Visit us at: http://www.wiseandhealthyaging.org/cms/1290.html


Welcome to the California Elder Justice Workgroup Wiki Site!

The California Elder Justice Workgroup (CEJW) was launched in October 2009 to protect the rights, independence, security, and well being of vulnerable elders in California by improving the response of the legal, long-term care, and protective service systems. 


Visit About Us to learn more about CEJW or Click here to download the full Project description in PDF format.












It’s out!

Improving California’s Response to Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: A Blueprint. 


The document represents over two years of exploration and discussions by advocates, service providers, experts in elder abuse prevention and related fields, and others with an interest in ensuring justice, safety, and security for older adults in California. These include the findings from the first state summit on elder abuse, held in April of 2010, an environmental scan to gather the collective knowledge about abuse and related topics, and discussions with the leaders of state agencies, professional associations, and advocacy groups. We welcome you to use the Blueprint to:

  • Guide your work with abused and vulnerable elders;
  • Assist you design new programs and expand existing programs by identifying unmet needs and justifying funding proposals;
  • Craft public policy; and
  • Set research agendas.


Hard copies of the Blueprint are being sent to summit delegates, members of CEJW’s Technical Advisory Group, and state and federal policy makers. 


Click below to download now:

Improving California’s Response to Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

 Improving California’s Response to Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: Executive Summary


We’d like to know your thoughts, ideas, and plans for using the Blueprint. Please take a moment to fill out our survey.

We’ll also use it to keep you up-to-date about plans for implementing the Blueprint.

Click here to complete the survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XYRTT8Y

Thank you!


News & Updates December, 2011


  • States Compensate Victims of Financial Crimes 
  • Survey of Madoff Victims Reveals PTSD
  • Thanks Mom and Dad (for your identities) 
  • NAPSA Launches First APS Resource Center 
  • Naomi Karp and Jenefer Duane Join Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Announcements


States Compensate Victims of Financial Crimes
During CEJW’s 2010 Summit, delegates asked whether state victim compensation programs can assist victims of financial crimes secure critical legal, financial, and mental health counseling services. Compensation programs, which to a great extent, are financed by crooks through fees, fines, and forfeitures, reimburse individual victims for crime-related injuries (both physical and emotional), lost wages, and to purchase services to help them recover. Historically, the funds have been used almost exclusively for victims of violent crimes. Following the summit, a small group of delegates began meeting to explore California’s comp program under the leadership of the California Commission on Aging.

To find out what other states are doing for financial crime victims, we asked the National Association of Victim Compensation Boards. In response, the Association sent a survey to members, which yielded the following:

  • In Colorado, most districts reported that they can (and have) paid for counseling in economic crimes cases. 
  • Florida 
can pay limited amounts ($500) to victims of property losses who are disabled or over 60 years old if the losses directly impact their quality of life.
  • Idaho’s compensation law allows programs to compensate victims of any (including non-violent) crimes that involve fines or imprisonment and that result in injuries (including emotional injuries). The program can offer financial counseling that is done in coordination with mental health provider/treatment plans. Often, financial counseling helps resolve emotional injuries.
  • In New Jersey, disabled citizens or seniors below the poverty line can receive up to $200 for stolen cash.
  • New York law permits the Office of Victim Services to provide both mental and financial counseling to elderly (60 and over) or disabled victims who haven’t suffered physical injuries if it begins within one year from the date of the incident. “Financial counseling” is defined as services provided by licensed professionals and cannot exceed the actual monetary loss or fraudulent charges and/or debt incurred by victims. For services provided during a six-month period or longer, the Office requires evidence on a semiannual basis that the counseling continues to be necessary as a direct result of the crime. In addition, victims who are under 18, over 60, or disabled can receive up to $500 for essential personal property, which may include no more than $100 for lost cash.
  • In Oklahoma programs can pay for counseling for victims of financial crimes.
  • In Pennsylvania, victims of financial fraud, Internet scams, investment fraud, and identity theft are eligible for mental health counseling services. Victims can also be reimbursed for travel to therapy appointments. Internet and investment scam victims who suffer cash losses can be reimbursed as long as their primary source of income (50% or more) is from Social Security Retirement or Disability, and pension/ retirement plans. 
  • Although Utah’s statutes do not allow for benefits to victim's of financial crimes, its compensation program has provided mental health services to victims traumatized as a result of home burglaries if the victim encounters the burglar in the home. Financial crimes that do not involve a risk of bodily harm are not covered.
  • In Vermont, Victim comp programs can assist victims of fraud with mental health and financial counseling, lost wages, and gas reimbursement to attend criminal court proceedings. In identity theft cases, they can pay for replacement documentation. 
  • In Iowa, burglary victims qualify for the full range of compensation benefits.
  • Wyoming’s program will provide up to $1,500 for mental health counseling for elderly victims of financial fraud.

Many thanks to Dan Eddy, Executive Director of the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards for his assistance in providing the information.


Survey of Madoff Victims Reveals PTSD
According to a survey conducted by therapist Audrey Freshman PhD, LCSW, CASAC of Rockville Centre, New York, 55.7% of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme victims were experiencing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 8 to 10 months following Madoff’s arrest on December 11, 2008. According to Freshman, this rate coincides with PTSD prevalence during the first year of other “human-made” disasters. The findings support a growing consensus about the mental health impact that financial crimes have on victims’ mental health. Dr. Freshman can be reached at:afresh314@gmail.com


Thanks Mom and Dad (for your identities)
A new study reveals that 2 million older adults had their identities used by younger family members, mostly adult offspring, for fraudulent reasons between 2006 and 2010. The report by ID Analytics, a for-profit credit and identity risk management firm, is a departure from past surveys on the subject, which have typically relied on accounts by those involved and do not capture fraud against those who do not know they have been victimized. According to Dr. Stephen Coggeshall, chief technology officer of ID Analytics, the figures are based on analyses of 1 billion applications for credit cards and cell phones, which show how many times younger family members apparently fraudulently used their elder parents’ credit. For more, see: http://www.idanalytics.com/news-and-events/news-releases/2011/9-20-2011.php


NAPSA Launches First APS Resource Center
The National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) has launched the first National Adult Protective Services (APS) Resource Center through a $199,956 grant from the US Administration on Aging. NAPSA Director Kathleen Quinn will head up the new Center whose goals are to:
• Identify evidence-based best practices for APS programs and interventions;
• Establish national baseline data on “state of APS” in 2012;
• Identify and promote the evaluation of novel, but unevaluated, APS promising practices;
• Compile and synthesize research that informs APS programming and interventions; and
• Provide targeted technical assistance to state and local APS programs.

Activities will include the creation of an APS Resource Center webpage, Facebook page and Twitter account; comprehensive reports based on surveys of APS programs, applicable research and innovative practices; research and training webzine’s, a monthly newsletter, an APS-specific listserv and information packets. NAPSA’s partners in the venture are:
• National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD);
• National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD);
• American Public Human Services Association (APHSA);
• National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA);
• Catholic University’s School of Social Service's Center on Global Aging;
• Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER); and
• San Diego State University’s Project MASTER in the Academy for Professional Excellence.

The first issue of the Center’s newsletter, released in November, contains articles on helping victims avoid scams, new census data on elders and adults with disabilities, the November 2011 Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation National Call-in, and updates on national policy.


Naomi Karp and Jenefer Duane Join Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Two CEJW TAG members will be joining the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Older Americans. Naomi Karp, formerly a Senior Strategic Policy Advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute, will serve as Policy Advisor and Jenefer Duane, the founder and CEO of the Elder Financial Protection Network, will serve as a Senior Program Analyst. Former Minnesota Senator and Attorney General Skip Humphrey heads up the office, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As Naomi describes it, “the small office has a big consumer-focused mission—to address financial exploitation, fight frauds and scams, protect older Americans in the financial services marketplace, and bolster financial literacy, retirement planning and long-term care planning. The Office will further monitor the certification of financial advisors who advise seniors; conduct research on protection against abusive practices, long-term savings and planning for retirement/long-term care; coordinate with federal and state entities; and work with non-profits and others. Congratulations Naomi and Jenefer!



Older Americans Act Elder Abuse Stakeholder Meeting
On October 11, staff from the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee held a “listening session” to learn more about elder abuse and Title VII of the OAA. Staff members from the following offices were in attendance:
• Senator Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
• Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY)
• Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
• Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)
• Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
• Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)

Other Elder Justice Commission members and elder abuse prevention advocates who presented at the session included:
• Bob Blancato, Elder Justice Coalition
• Bill Benson, International Association for Indigenous Aging
• MT Connolly, Life Long Justice
• Cindy Hounsell, Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER)
• Marci Phillips, National Council on Aging (NCOA)
• Kathleen Quinn, National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA)  

·   Among the issues raised at the summit was the need for better communication among legal professionals, particularly in the handling of financial abuse cases. Summit delegate Steve Riess sums it up this way.

          “The state’s response to the problem involves helping victims recover from exploitation and punishing wrong-doers. However, civil remedies and criminal prosecution derive their authority from different statutes with very different legal requirements. Moreover, practical considerations, such as the measures of proof required and the ability of defendants to return property, often have profoundly different effects on the outcomes of civil cases and criminal prosecutions. While civil lawyers and prosecutors both address the same exploitative events, there is often a substantial gap in their understanding of each other’s roles. This gap can result in a failure to cooperate and a frustration of purpose.”


Steve, a private attorney, and fellow summit delegate Helen Karr of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office teamed up on an ingenious solution. They’re designing a short publication to help civil lawyers and prosecutors better understand each other’s roles. The front half of the booklet is entitled “Civil Elder Financial Abuse for Prosecutors” and describes the law and practical considerations faced by civil lawyers. Turning the booklet over, the other half is entitled “Criminal Elder Financial Abuse for Civil Lawyers” and describes prosecutors’ considerations. When completed, they plan to distribute the booklets at no charge to district attorney offices and related law enforcement, as well as to major county bar associations. Stakeholders who would like to help by reviewing a draft can contact Steve at steve@riesslaw.com

·         In a new report released December 7, 2010, advocates for consumers and seniors are calling for stricter oversight of the reverse mortgage market and new consumer protections for borrowers. Consumers Union released the report in collaboration with California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform’s Prescott Cole and the Council on Aging Silicon Valley’s Shawna Reeves. The report and recommendations for consumers are being issued as the newly authorized Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) examines reverse mortgages and considers whether new safeguards are needed to protect borrowers from abusive industry practices. The Federal Reserve Board is also considering a set of proposed regulations on reverse mortgages.

In their February 14 newsletter, the Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) announced that President Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposed more than $20 million in first time funding for programs included in the Elder Justice Act of 2010. As per the EJC the funding breakdown is as follows:

·         Adult Protective Services (APS)-$16.5 million for State Adult Protective Services demonstrations to improve operations. Of these funds, $1.5 million will be targeted for coalition building, training and technical assistance, elder rights program development and research for preventing and addressing elder abuse within Tribal nations according to the Administration on Aging (AoA).

·         Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program-an additional $5 million to improve resident advocacy to elders and adults with disabilities who live in long-term care settings.


To learn more about the work of the Elder Justice Coalition, visit http://www.elderjusticecoalition.com/index.htm

·         2011 Elder Rights Conference – Call for Sessions / Sponsorship Opportunity
Stakeholders are invited to submit a presentation request for the 25th Annual Elder Rights Conference, July 6-8, 2011, in Chicago, Illinois. Deadline for submission is March 17, 2011. For more information, contact
gidget.freeberg@illinois.gov or call 217-557-8312.

·         Friday, April 29 from 10-11:30am - Promising Practices with Financial Exploitation presented by Betty Malks, Shawna Reeves, Iris Freeman and Adria Navarro.

·         To view the POST catalogue description, visit http://post.outpostnetworks.com/postcatalog/catalogue/c6/p303

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