NCPEA Logo  
National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
Top Navigation barHomeAbout NCPEAOur Affiliates
PublicationsAsk the ExpertsSite Map

Archstone Funds Affiliate Program

A Project Supported by The Archstone Foundation

In September 1998, the Archstone Foundation awarded NCPEA a grant to assist its affiliates prevent financial exploitation in the communities they serve. The initiative was launched in response to affiliates' reports of burgeoning caseloads and the formidable challenges these cases often pose. The multifaceted project was designed to provide affiliates with resources and skills in designing financial abuse prevention and intervention programs, and opportunities to share their experiences and expertise.

In June 1999, affiliates came to San Francisco for a 2-day intensive technical assistance workshop. Representatives from 17 of NCPEA's 18 affiliates participated in the event, which included sessions on the following topics:

Bank Reporting Projects. Craig Fox described the Bank Reporting Project sponsored by the Massachusetts Office for Elder Affairs. The project, which Mr. Fox spearheaded, enlisted the voluntary support of financial institutions in raising awareness among their personnel in how to identify and report exploitation of their customers. The successful project has been replicated in several other communities. The workshop provided affiliates with insight into the benefits and challenges of working with financial institutions and effective strategies for doing so.

Fiduciary Abuse Specialist Teams (FAST). The FAST model, developed in Los Angeles, is a hybrid multidisciplinary team, which was created to increase members' skills in resolving complex financial abuse cases. Susan Aziz, the FAST team's original coordinator described the model and facilitated a panel of representatives from Orange and San Diego Counties, which have replicated the FAST model.

Prosecution of Financial Crimes. Candace Heisler, former assistant district attorney and expert in the criminal prosecution of elder abuse cases, led a discussion on effective techniques for enlisting local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies in addressing financial abuse.

Model Projects in Civil Courts. Mary Joy Quinn, Director of Probate Services of the San Francisco Superior Court and expert in elder abuse prevention, described San Francisco's model court investigation unit and a new mediation program that the court is piloting.

Undue influence. Drs. Abraham Nievod and Margaret Singer, two of the nation's foremost experts in undue influence, described the psychological process of undue influence, its relationship to cognitive functioning, the role it plays in financial exploitation, and how it can be counteracted.

Restitution. Marty Plone, a victim of financial abuse turned advocate for restitution reform, described the current restitution system and its shortcomings. He further described promising reforms that are being pursued in California and their potential for replication in other states.

Affiliates' Projects

Following the workshop, affiliates were given the opportunity to put what they'd learned to use in their own communities with the help of small grants. Affiliates were invited to submit proposals for up to $1,500 to develop or expand upon local initiatives to stop financial abuse. Fourteen affiliates took advantage of the opportunity and received grants.

The projects that received grants varied widely. Several affiliates used their grants to bring workshop speakers to their communities to make presentations and facilitate discussions. The Consortium Against Adult Abuse (Ohio) invited Mary Joy Quinn to deliver the keynote address at its annual conference in June, which focused on financial abuse. The presentation was followed by working sessions during which participants developed multi-system plans for combating financial abuse. The Virginia Coalition used its grant to sponsor an intensive workshop for law enforcement personnel and others, led by Candace Heisler, which was held in conjunction with the affiliate's annual elder rights conference.

The Oregon Attorney General's Task Force on Elder Abuse used its grant to develop the Retiree Response Technical Team, or R2T2. The program, which is being piloted in eight counties, recruits and trains retired persons with expertise in financial affairs to assist APS workers investigate financial abuse cases by reviewing and interpreting financial documents, and participate on multidisciplinary teams. The affiliate worked with the Oregon Banker's Association and an association of retired bank employees to recruit volunteers. Volunteers operate under the aegis of a statewide volunteer program, which provides insurance coverage. The aim of the project is to increase prosecutions of complex cases, particularly those in which victims are unable or unwilling to testify - cases that require compelling "paper trails" of evidence. R2D2 was initiated with a training conference in June, 2000 for volunteers, their supervisors, and other trainers.

Two affiliates used their grants to explore the feasibility of starting FASTs. Lifespan of New York convened a group of service providers from 10 counties to discuss a multi-county team. After debating the pros and cons of replicating the model, the group decided against starting a new team. Although the group felt that better inter-disciplinary communication was needed, they decided to explore alternative options, such broadening the focus of existing case review forums to address financial abuse cases. Lifespan also used part of its grant to provide training to small banks in rural areas.

The San Francisco Consortium for Elder Abuse Prevention also used its grant to explore the FAST model. The Consortium hosted a half-day workshop for representatives from San Francisco's two existing multidisciplinary teams (one of which is convened by the Consortium the other by the City Attorney's office). Joan Allen, Coordinator of Orange County's FAST described the FAST model and Orange County's experiences in adapting it. The San Francisco group also decided against establishing a FAST but discussed ways to capitalize on FAST's benefits by integrating components of the model into its existing programs. The existing teams, for example, will recruit additional members from financial institutions, provide more training on financial abuse to members, and replicate some of FAST's approaches to recruiting, training, and motivating members.

The Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services used its grant to host a roundtable discussion, in collaboration with the Ohio Association of Probate Judges, to explore and plan collaborative activities. The affiliate also produced a special issue of its newsletter focusing on financial abuse and summarizing the roundtable discussions. They are also updating existing materials to include information on newly enacted state legislation and developing a new brochure on financial abuse. Several affiliates used their grants to produce new outreach materials or adapt materials designed by other affiliates. WISE Sr. Services in Los Angeles adapted a brochure developed by the Oregon affiliate which was distributed at safety fairs that were held as part of a broader community outreach campaign. The Aging Task Force of Healthy Community Coalition also adapted materials, which were then distributed to over 3000 seniors, doctors, banks, agencies, and businesses. Northern Kentucky Senior Services developed a resource library of materials on scams and fraud prevention, produced educational materials for seniors, and is conducting monthly educational programs. To reach homebound seniors, the affiliate has developed a "stamp out fraud" rubber stamp, which includes a phone number for abuse referrals. Volunteer apply the stamp to cardboard meals-on-wheels carton covers, which has enabled the affiliate to reach 650 seniors every day. San Diego's FAST is developing educational materials and sponsoring a half-day symposium for professionals and Orange County's FAST is developing training for Emergency Medical services personnel.

The Chautauqua County Office for the Aging's Elder Abuse Prevention Program used its grant to publicize the availability of their newly appointed Senior Services Investigator (through the Sheriff's Department) who consults with APS and aging service providers in financial abuse cases. The grant will cover the costs of developing an outreach plan, the printing and mailing of promotional flyers, informational materials, and speaking engagements.

The Billings Chapter for the Prevention of Elder Abuse used its grant toward the completion of a training video for financial institutions and companion materials. The video and materials are being used in presentations for financial institution presidents, state and local officials, affiliate board members, and at a conference of the Montana Bankers Association. The affiliate is also preparing a publicity packet for the media. Other partners in the project include the Montana Bankers Association, the Montana Credit Union Network, and the Billings Rotary Club.

Return to NCPEA Affiliate