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The Launch of the Multi-disciplinary Team Technical Assistance Center


By Talitha Guinn-Shaver, MDT Technical Advisor at the US Department of Justice, Elder Justice Initiative.

On October 25, 2016, the Elder Justice Initiative launched the elder abuse case review multidisciplinary team technical assistance center (MDT TAC).  The mission of the MDT TAC is to provide tools, resource materials, and individualized consultations to facilitate the expansion of elder abuse case review multidisciplinary teams across the nation.  Services are offered at no cost, and include:

  • Responding to requests for materials (e.g., toolkits or research)
  • Phone consultations to discuss problem solving (e.g., confidentiality issues)
  • In-person consultations for communities needing a more hands-on approach
  • Educational opportunities such as webinars
  • Downloadable resources will be hosted on the elder justice website (elderjustice.gov)
    • In addition, the elder justice website maintains resources for prosecutors, law enforcement officers, victim service providers, as well as victims and their loved ones (see elderjustice.gov)

In support of our mission, the MDT TAC is also engaging in many, behind-the-scenes tasks and collaborations including:

  • Conducting a community needs assessment
  • Collaborating with USC to identify baseline data regarding current MDTs
  • Identifying relevant resource materials and gaps in resources
  • Collaborating with other professionals to fill the gaps by creating needed materials

Focus on Case Review MDT
The MDT TAC has chosen to focus on elder abuse case review MDTs due to their direct impact on the lives of abuse victims.  Case review MDTs work collaboratively to investigate and prosecute cases, and to ensure victims receive the services they need to recover from abuse.  MDTs hold face-to-face meetings to discuss cases, share information, and develop a case plans. System review and changes are often a result of collaboration, however, case review teams are primarily person-centered.

Background
The MDT TAC was inspired by many ongoing nation-wide efforts to grow and strengthen multidisciplinary responses to elder abuse.  Three specific efforts presented opportunities and recommendations that the EJI has capitalized on for this project.

The MDT TAC facilitates the Department of Justice’s broader elder justice goals specifically by aligning with several recommendations of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, including:

Recommendation 1: Support the Investigation and Prosecution of Elder Abuse Cases
Recommendation 2: Enhance Services to Elder Abuse Victims
Recommendation 6: Promote Cross-disciplinary Training on Elder Abuse
Recommendation 7: Combat Elder Financial Exploitation including Abuse by Fiduciaries

Published in July of 2014, The Elder Justice Roadmap, which was supported by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, lists MDTs under its direct service priorities and mentions MDTs approximately 28 times.

On September 8, 2014, elder justice experts and funders in the field gathered in New York City for a MDT Symposium.  The MDT TAC builds on the Symposium’s Priority #4: “Provide resources and technical assistance to guide the start-up of MDTs nationally and refine practice.”

Connect

Collaboration is the key to success for the MDT TAC, and for MDTs nationally.  Connect with us to learn more, request a consultation, or suggest ways to partner.  Contact Talitha Guinn-Shaver, MDT Technical Advisor talitha.j.guinn-shaver@usdoj.gov

The opinions, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Department of Justice.

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Special Thanks to Judith D. Tamkin

We are sincerely appreciative to Judith D. Tamkin for her gift to help establish the USC Center on Elder Mistreatment’s website. Her deep and personal commitment to eradicating elder abuse is helping to reshape our understanding of elder abuse and ultimately save innumerable older adults from abuse and neglect.