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Tennessee Better Prepared to Stop Elder Abuse

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day arrives as the Department of Human Services leads a statewide change in how responding agencies work together.
Friday, June 15, 2018 | 12:47pm

The Tennessee Department of Human Services is recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by releasing a new statewide plan to help improve the investigation and response of help to vulnerable adults.

This plan began two years ago when the Federal Administration for Community Living awarded TDHS a grant to establish a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) involving state and non-profit agencies that play a role in providing protective services.  More than 20 organizations and agencies have been meeting monthly ever since to create solutions that:

·         Improve communications among agencies and organizations.

·         Streamline investigations.

·         Help identify and reduce the number of unsanitary and abusive unlicensed facilities.

TDHS took a leadership role creating the CCR as the department’s Adult Protective Services division is charged with investigating reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) and/or financial exploitation of adults across the entire state of Tennessee.

“Protecting older adults from abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation is crucial to building a thriving Tennessee,” said TDHS Commissioner Danielle W. Barnes.  “The Coordinated Community Response we’re building will ensure that protection is more efficient, better informed and better equipped to serve vulnerable adults.”

TDHS is planning events across the state to discuss the CCR and take feedback from the public beginning with a workshop June 15 at the 2018 Cares Conference in Nashville.

Among the agencies involved in the creation of the CCR include representatives from the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

“The system of elder abuse prevention and prosecution is comprised of many organizations and agencies that must all move together in collaboration to protect one of Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations. To do this, we to must continue to make elder abuse prevention and prosecution a constant priority,” said Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.