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Pathways to Safety: An Examination of Federal and State-Level Barriers and Facilitators to Elder Abuse Reporting and Response

Award Information

Award #
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $433,368)

As few as one in twenty-four cases of elder abuse are reported to Adult Protective Services (APS). Mandated reports are critical to identifying and resolving cases, but there is little information about how to address a significant barrier to reporting: the lack of feedback that reporters receive about their reports and the essential role they can play in addressing elder abuse.

This project aims to fill gaps in current knowledge and facilitate improved communication between APS and reporters by examining the legal, ethical, and practical barriers and facilitators to communication at key points along the reporting and response pathways. This two-year project will include two primary parts: (1) an environmental scan of policies and practices related to APS and reporter communication in each of the 50 United States; and (2) an in-depth case study to analyze the impact of policy changes made on this issue in Massachusetts in 2017.

The environmental scan will include review of federal and state regulations and telephone interviews with state APS leaders (N=50). The case study in MA will include review of administrative data to describe trends in reporting before, during, and following policy changes and in-depth interviews with APS agency staff and mandated reporters (N=30) to assess perceptions of the effectiveness of the policy changes and to identify the most useful strategies. Qualitative data will be analyzed using thematic analysis. Quantitative data will be analyzed using simple descriptive statistics to explore trends in reporting, investigation, and response in the year preceding the policy change, the year the policy changes were rolled out, and the year following the policy changes. The project will lead to a set of recommendations and strategies that policy makers and key stakeholders at the state and local level can use to improve communication between APS and reporters.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: September 20, 2020