Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Safe Haven
We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week's focus is on the Safe Haven Project from Region 2 Area Agency on Aging, winner in the Elder Abuse Prevention category.
To protect vulnerable adults from abuse, exploitation and neglect, Region 2 Area Agency on Aging developed the Safe Haven Project. Region 2 AAA works with Adult Protective Services (APS) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in nearby counties to offer immediate, safe, temporary housing and care coordination and to address other needs to ensure the safety of at-risk adults in the community.
Region 2 AAA has had a close working relationship with the local APS and has advocated for elder and vulnerable adults since 1974. While APS is equipped to handle reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation, they do not always have the resources like those provided by the Safe Haven program. The Safe Haven initiative began in 2016, after Region 2 AAA management staff observed community need for immediate safety interventions, including intensive case management, safe housing, meals, clothes, transportation and other interventions that provides immediate relief in an unstable situation. The Safe Haven program provides these interventions for six-to-eight weeks to offer a foundation of safety to participants.
Safe Haven served 21 participants in 2017, an increase from six participants in its initial year. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2019, Safe Haven has served 14 participants. In 2018, Region 2 AAA initiated their first annual fundraising event held during World Elder Abuse Prevention week. All proceeds went directly to the Safe Haven program. Region 2 AAA also established a tri-country Vulnerable Adult Coalition for 2019, which will bring together community stakeholders to hear from expert speakers, develop methods of formal outreach on vulnerable adult protection and discuss other preventative measures.
For agencies interested in starting similar programs, Region 2 AAA recommends reaching out to the local APS office and other community agencies to gain support, applying for state or federal grants geared toward elder and vulnerable adult abuse prevention, exploring other funding mechanisms, including fundraising events, and exploring the capabilities of your agency's existing software system to include case information and data collection from this program.
To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!