FOR ESTABLISHING AND COORDINATING
A FIDUCIARY ABUSE SPECIALIST TEAM
guidelines for establishing and coordinating a Fiduciary
Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), which are presented below,
are intended to assist other communities interested in forming
a similar team. The guidelines are based on the experience
of the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging FAST. Each
community is unique, and its FAST must be tailored accordingly,
in order to meet the community's needs. Flexibility and
adaptability are crucial in creatively harnessing community
resources to combat elder financial abuse.
FEATURES OF THE FAST:
Los Angeles County FAST differs from typical multidisciplinary
teams, as follows:
FAST specializes in financial abuse. Financial abuse usually
does not occur in isolation, however, and is frequently
accompanied by other forms of elder abuse or neglect.
Although each case presented to the team has financial
abuse as its primary focus, other forms of elder abuse
are addressed, as necessary.
Consultants include members from both the public and private
sectors, including financial experts such as a banker,
securities broker, real estate broker, financial planner
and insurance expert.
FAST provides both training and case consultations. Most
of the FAST Consultants have participated in developing
and conducting formal training programs relating to recognizing,
investigating, stopping and preventing elder financial
abuse. All of the FAST Consultants have participated in
providing case consultations.
FAST membership is comprised of both Consultants, who
give case consultations, and "fiduciary abuse specialists",
who receive case consultations. All team members make
a commitment to attend all FAST meetings. The designated
Adult Protective Services (APS), Ombudsman and Public
Guardian (PG) fiduciary abuse specialists have developed
into specialists in serving victims of financial abuse,
as a result of their regular participation on the team.
They serve as internal consultants to other caseworkers
in their respective units or programs. They obtain telephone
consultations from FAST Consultants on an emergency basis
on behalf of themselves or other caseworkers in their
respective units or programs. They may also make comments
and recommendations regarding cases presented at FAST
FAST Consultants make a formal commitment, as part of
the Memorandum of Understanding, to provide telephone
consultations on an emergency basis, up to two hours per
month. These consultations are in addition to the case
consultations at the monthly FAST meetings.
A FIDUCIARY ABUSE SPECIALIST TEAM:
following steps serve as flexible guidelines to assist in
setting up a similar team and do not necessarily need to
be followed exactly or in the order specified:
a planning task force, and identify a chairperson. Include
on the task force a representative of each of the key
organizations that both serve victims of elder financial
abuse and are interested in establishing a FAST (e.g.,
APS, Ombudsman Program, PG, law enforcement, District/City
Attorney's Office, public interest law office/private
law office, care management program, and/or Area Agency
the goal(s) of the team and the primary objective(s) to
be accomplished (e.g., The goal may be to decrease elder
financial abuse in your community by preventing or stopping
such abuse; an objective may be to improve the ability
of APS workers and Ombudsmen to investigate reported cases
of elder financial abuse, in order to assist victims in
recovering or preventing further loss of their assets).
secondary objective(s) that may be achieved as part of
a long-range plan (e.g.,To increase awareness and knowledge
of bankers regarding elder financial abuse).
how the primary objective(s) will be accomplished (e.g.,
case consultations at monthly FAST meetings, telephone
consultations, educational presentations, training programs).
which programs/services should appoint fiduciary abuse
specialist(s), based on the objectives specified (e.g.,
APS, Ombudsman Program, PG, care management programs).
These programs/services will be presenting cases at the
FAST meetings and are the recipients of the case consultations.
any of the identified programs/services are not participating
on the planning task force and are not yet supportive
of establishing a FAST, analyze why there is resistance.
Develop a strategy to overcome obstacles and to obtain
support, based, in part, on the benefits of participation.
Attempt to elicit the participation of each of the identified
programs/services on the task force, as early in the
planning process as possible. At a minimum, attempt
to elicit their participation on the team.
what basic training should be provided to the fiduciary
abuse specialists and other caseworkers in their respective
programs/services, possibly to other service providers,
and possibly to the Consultants, prior to launching the
team, in order to maximize the impact of the team meetings
and case consultations.
resources required to operate the FAST: Review the Job
Descriptions of the Coordinator and Facilitators. Identify
how all costs will be covered (e.g., special funding from
public and/or private sources; operating budgets of selected
lead organizations; any creative way to access needed
who will coordinate the FAST: The identification of an
organization to be responsible for coordinating the team
is crucial. It is important that one person be designated
by the identified organization to be the Coordinator as
part of his/her official duties. In selecting an appropriate
organization/individual, it is helpful to consider that
the Coordinator should make every effort to be as "neutral"
as possible. The Coordin-ator's function is to facilitate
the team process and help all team members gain a better
under-standing of each other's roles and responsibilities.
The Coordinator should not promote his/her program/ service/agency,
to the detriment of the group process. In addition, the
Coordinator needs to be skilled at working effectively
with volunteers, in order to retain volunteer Consult-ants
who are recruited. The role and responsibilities of the
Coordinator, including recruitment of FAST Consultants,
are outlined in the Job Description for the FAST Coordinator.
Senior Services, a private non-profit multi-service
organization which serves older adults and operates
the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program serving Los Angeles
County/City, coordinates the FAST. WISE has a long-standing
history of working effectively with volunteers.
the types of technical expertise needed on the part of
Consultants, and identify organizations and individual
professionals to recruit from both the public and private
sectors, including the financial community, in order to
meet the needs. Some recruitment considerations are as
key organizations/programs/services that are authorized
to serve victims of financial abuse, such as law enforcement/
APS/Ombudsman investigators, conservators and prosecutors,
should be represented on the team.
individual's communication skills and ability to be
a "team player" are as important as his/her technical
expertise in serving as a FAST Consultant.
an individual's expertise may only be required infrequently,
she/he may be invited as a "Guest Consultant", as
needed. A ConsultantŐs time is valuable and should
be used wisely.
FAST Coordinator should work closely and collaboratively
with members of the planning task force, including the identified
FAST Facilitators, during the planning and recruitment phases
prior to the orientation program and first team meeting.
After the team has been launched, close collaboration between
the Coordinator and planning task force is also important,
as modifica-tions will likely be made as the dynamic team
develops over time. The following guidelines relate to important
aspects of the process of coordinating:
and retention of FAST Consultants:
networking is one of the keys to effective recruitment.
In addition to brainstorming with members of the planning
task force, recommendations can be gotten from members
of the FAST as they are recruited. Networking as broadly
as possible is helpful. For example, several of the
financial experts on the Los Angeles County FAST were
recruited as a result of networking with members of
the Board of Directors of WISE Senior Services, which
coordinates the team. Whenever possible and appropriate,
get at least three recommendations for each position.
One of the individuals may be suitable to serve as a
"back-up" Consultant to the person recruited as the
Consultant. Initial screening may be done by telephone.
Whenever possible, a follow-up interview is strongly
advised. Written materials should be provided in order
to ensure that the potential Consultant is clear about
the expectations (e.g., To attend all meetings listed
on the annual schedule which includes dates, time, location
and parking options).
an effort to develop and maintain the interest, involvement,
motivation and commitment of the Consultants, who are
unpaid volunteers, the Coordinator needs to apply key
principles of working effectively with volunteers. It
is important that the Coordinator develop a mutually
supportive and collaborative working relationship with
the FAST Consultants.
identities must be shielded at team meetings. All FAST
members must agree to keep discussions and case information
confidential. Professional guest observers must sign
an Agreement of Confidentiality and do not receive any
case-related written materials. The Coordinator should
mark as "Confidential" envelopes sent through the mail
and the cover sheet for facsimiles that contain any
case-related or other confidential information.
for the preference of team members during recruitment
and attempt to accommodate the member with the most
restrictive schedule. Get consensus from team members,
and schedule the meeting for the same day, time and
location each month.
formal orientation program should be planned by the
Coordinator in consultation with the Facilitators and
planning task force. It is recommended to show a video
tape on elder abuse such as: "Lifeline: Recognizing
and Reporting Elder Abuse", produced by the California
Attorney GeneralŐs Office and Department of Aging.
case consultations at the first (three-hour) meeting.
for meetings in advance:
planning two to three weeks ahead. Decide on a topic
for the educational presentation and schedule a speaker.
Obtain handouts from the speaker in advance, if possible.
Mail the agenda, case summaries and minutes of the previous
meeting five business days prior to the meeting. Determine
what audiovisual equipment is needed and confirm the
arrangements for the equipment.
a reminder call to the Facilitators responsible for
case presentations three to five business days prior
to the due date for receipt of the written case summaries.
The due date is specified on the annual schedule for
case presentations. Prepare sign-in sheets for the FAST
members and guests.
clear expectations about what is expected from each
item on the agenda.
team members know the kind and amount of participation
and end the meeting on time.
sure that clear decisions/recommendations are made,
when appropriate, and understood by all team members
before moving on to the next agenda item.
agreement on and assign the necessary follow-up action
steps to implement a decision or plan.
constructive participation from members of the group.
talking too much and shutting off others from contributing.
to state your own views or opinion until others have
had a chance to state theirs.
questions to draw others into the discussion.
what others say to ensure team members' views are
heard and understood.
summarize what has been said to help the group move
ahead more quickly.
that the case presenterŐs supervisor summarizes the
case recommendations and follow-up actions at the
end of each case consultation.
about ideas, points of view and recommendations without
linking a team member's name to them.
the meeting by directing the way to approach issues
and by keeping the meeting moving at a good pace,
not by giving a lot of personal views or information
on the issues at hand.
team members with different points of view to speak
on a subject.
positively to opinions that are different from your
move to shut off personal conflicts between team members
in order to keep them from taking valuable group time
or destroying a positive group climate.
a firm grip on the team and get it back on track when
someone disrupts a productive discussion by talking
too much, getting side-tracked on to unrelated issues,
holding side conversations which distract, making
critical comments to others that are not constructive
or by clowning around too much.
with a team member privately about behavior that disrupts
to other team member's/guest's ideas.
how other team members feel about issues.
Thank presenters, other team members and guests for
after the meetings:
that minutes of the meeting are completed. Based on
the minutes, prepare the case-related follow-up action
forms, and send them to appropriate team members within
one week of the meeting.
the results of the feedback forms completed by team
members and guests at the end of the meeting. Review
the summary and take follow-up action, as required,
including sharing the feedback with appropriate persons
within one week of the meeting.
the educational presenter(s).
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