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Tennessee Better Prepared to Stop Elder Abuse

Tennessee Department of Human Services

Tennessee Department of Human ServicesNashville, TN – 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. 

Tennessee Department of Human Services leads a statewide change in how responding agencies work together to combat Elder abuse.
Tennessee Department of Human Services leads a statewide change in how responding agencies work together to combat Elder abuse.

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.”

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 make elder abuse prevention and prosecution a constant priority,” said Jim Shulman, Executive Director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

“It has been an honor to serve as the District Attorney General Conference Representative on the CCR. The DA’s in Tennessee are committed to protecting the elderly and vulnerable adults in this state,” said Lisa Zavogiannis, District Attorney General, 31st Judicial District.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization established WEAAD in 2006. It serves as a way to raise awareness about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older individuals. In recognition, the State Capitol cupola and the Pedestrian Street Bridge in Nashville have both been illuminated in the official awareness color, purple.

In addition to investigating abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, Adult Protective Services makes referrals to resources within the community for further assistance and to help keep the individual in the safest environment.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices

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