Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $375,000)
Breaking Down Barriers: A Multidisciplinary Team Approach to Strengthening
California’s Elder Justice System
CEJC will create a state-level, enhanced multidisciplinary team (A*TEAM) to address systemic barriers that local MDTs encounter but lack the capacity to address. These include inconsistencies in how statutes and regulations are implemented, interpreted, or enforced; service gaps; confusing, overlapping, or conflicting roles and responsibilities of agencies that respond to abuse; unequal access to services; discriminatory practices; unmet training needs; failure to enforce laws, regulations, or penalties; barriers to restitution recovery and compensation; and the need for policy reform. MDTs across California may refer cases for A*TEAM review.
The A*TEAM will include experts in elder abuse policy and programs, representatives from state agencies with key roles in abuse prevention, policy analysts, victim services administrators, advocates for underserved populations, the director of a university-based elder-law clinic, trainers, and representations from law enforcement, regulatory agencies, and courts. Members will evaluate the scope, causes, and impact of systemic barriers and recommend actions such as:
Requesting guidance, program reviews, audits, interpretations of statutes, or new policies.
Seeking assistance from professional associations (e.g., serving forensics accountants and neuropsychologists) to recruit members to serve on MDTs.
Exploring statutory and programmatic innovations and best practices.
Alerting researchers to the need for data to demonstrate policy needs and impacts.
Informing training academies or schools about training needs.
The A*TEAM Coordinator will follow up on recommendations, and cases will be summarized, archived, and available to policy makers, advocates, and researchers to avert duplicative or repetitive efforts, facilitate research, and contribute to the collective knowledge about elder justice policy and practice.
CEJC will identify MDTs across the state and inform them about the A*TEAM, facilitate exchange, and identify and respond to training and technical assistance needs. CEJC will also provide information on A*TEAM processes, accomplishments, challenges, and findings to advocates, resource centers, and other stakeholders across the country.
Project deliverables include the A*TEAM, enhanced policy, an archive of systemic obstacles and resolutions, an MDT database, replicable A*TEAM operational materials, webinars, presentations, website content, and articles. Outcomes for victims include access to comprehensive services to recover misappropriated assets, recover from trauma, and reduce risk. Benefits to MDT members include heightened understanding of victims’ needs and strategies for effecting systemic changes, dynamic partnerships, and enhanced performance. California’s response to elder abuse will be more equitable, streamlined, and responsive, and there will be greater alignment and collaboration among states.