How did federal APS discretionary grant funding make a difference?
I was surprised when I joined the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS) liaison team to learn that, despite the importance of their role, adult protection systems across the nation still face many challenges in receiving funding and supports needed to serve older adults and adults with disabilities. Coming to my new NAMRS role as a former state child welfare director, I found myself bewildered by the fact that adults were not given the same priority as abused and neglected children.
Though new dedicated federal funding to APS programs will create opportunities, because of the historical lack of funding, APS programs have generally only been able to take one small step at a time in their continuous improvement process journey. State APS programs must seek new forms of funding that will help them make investments in services for their state’s older adults and adults with disabilities.
Enter the federal State Grants to Enhance Adult Protective Services (often referred to as Elder Justice State Grants, or EJSG). In the first two discretionary grant cycles (Federal Fiscal Years 2015 & 2016), 24 state recipients were afforded the opportunity to make needed APS system improvements. The APS TARC recently completed an impact and reach analysis for the first two grant years. The analysis shows that these 24 state grantees made investments in a wide array of APS logic model subcategory areas, from new and enhanced operational supports (22) to customer satisfaction improvements (1), with 10 subcategories in between. With the help of this federal discretionary funding, each state took another step forward in making APS system improvements.
APS enhancement grants for the period of FFY 2015 through FFY 2016 were mapped to the five logic model categories and subcategories. Each state in its grant submission had to define how their enhancement grant supported and aligned with the developed APS logic model. In completing the impact and reach analysis, each state’s grant was first mapped to the main logic model categories with summary results noted below.
Exhibit 1 - Grants Mapped to Logic Model Categories (FFY 2015–FFY 2016)
Next, each state’s grant was mapped to the logic model’s subcategories to define the subcategory summary results detailed below.
Exhibit 2 - Grants Mapped to Logic Model Subcategories (FFY 2015–FFY 2016)
Based upon an analysis of all the information, four key findings emerged about how these federal grant funds have impacted the national APS system, and what these funds are doing to help clients in these 24 grantee states.
Finding 1 - The largest number of states invested grant funding in creating new or enhancing existing operational supports.
There are many different activities and elements integral to the day-to-day activities of an APS program covered in this broad subcategory, including policies and procedures, case management, reporting and accounting systems, hiring and training staff, and others. Twenty-two states have grant activity mapped to this subcategory which reflects the wide array of need for states to make investments in either creating new state supports or in making enhancements to existing APS efforts.
Finding 2 - Grant projects resulted in work that contributed to the dissemination of multiple promising practices as well as the greater scientific understanding of APS.
Several grant projects resulted in published reports and various webinars. One state even succeeded in publishing their project results in the peer-reviewed journal, Innovation in Aging. There are many lessons we can learn from the successes and challenges faced in other state APS programs, so be sure to read the state summaries contained within the full report for more detail.
Finding 3 - Sustainability plans for grant projects were successful.
The great news is that many states continue to use and benefit from the products developed with the federal grant funding. Data systems, assessment and quality assurance tools, multidisciplinary efforts are just some of the examples of sustainable improvements made within state APS programs. State grantees carefully considered not only the short-term benefits of an APS federal grant improvement, but also its continuation after the federal grant ended.
Finding 4 - The quantity of NAMRS data increased as a result of Elder Justice State Grants.
Twenty EJSG grantees expanded data capacity as part of their projects. The most comprehensive form of reporting in NAMRS, referred to as Case Component data, increased steadily over the course of FFYs 2015-2019, beginning with 25 states and ending with 33. Strides are being made by states to provide consistent and accurate national APS data with the support of the federal grant funding.
States require support across many areas to fulfill their interest in making improvements within their state APS systems.
The findings contained within the full report provide excellent insights into the challenges states faced, and the investments state APS programs made to improve services, data collection, training and more. The report also details how APS programs partnered with others within their agencies and externally to make improvements.
Please check out the full report that contains an analysis of two grant cycles for State Grants to Enhance Adult Protective Services. There is also helpful information about state specific accomplishments, challenges, and findings, plus promising practices that may help your state!
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