Victim Outreach Department – supervised by Mary Miller, MSW, LSW The Victim Outreach Department, while small, has a huge impact on the communities served. Programming offered includes Awakenings Victim Outreach, Stages Behavioral Health, and Adult Protective Services.
Awakenings Victim Outreach: Providing Support & Raising Awareness About Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Submitted by Anna Hairston, MSW, LSW
Awakenings Victim Outreach allows AAA3 to provide wraparound services to adults age 60 or older. The Care Coordinator works with the individual to determine what steps are needed to stabilize and work towards their baseline before being victimized. Additionally, Awakenings provides outreach and education to help prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Awakenings received a referral from OhioKAN (Kinship and Adoption Navigator) for a woman in her 60s raising two of her grandchildren. “Sue” receives Social Security but also works two part-time jobs to try to make ends meet for them as well as takes classes at Rhodes State College to earn a degree. A short time ago she had been the victim of identity theft and a large sum had been charged on various credit cards opened in her name. Sue was being threatened with wage garnishment due to these charges. Not knowing what to do or who to turn to, she reached out to her OhioKAN advocate who directed her to a local agency. This local agency informed her they were unable to assist with her case but referred her to Legal Aid for their expertise. Legal Aid encouraged Sue to dispute these charges and wage garnishment and helped her navigate the court processes in Cleveland. Having a date for court scheduled, she realized that this would be a costly trip between finding childcare for before and after school for her grandchildren and the drive itself to Cleveland and back, along with court fees. At this point in time, she would struggle to stay afloat to pay these costs. Awakenings staff stepped in after a referral from a AAA3 staff member and assisted her with a weeks’ worth of groceries and household items as well as gas money so she would be able to afford the trip to the Cleveland Municipal Court. Sue was able to drive to Cleveland, submit the documents she needed to dispute the wage garnishment and drive home. She is overwhelmed and still processing but stated to Awakenings Care Coordinator “I am so thankful for this support. It means so much knowing there are people out there who are willing to help you in your worst moments”
Stages Behavioral Health: Meeting You Where You Are Submitted by Jacqueline Carver, LISW-S
Adults over the age of sixty face certain challenges, such as life adjustments, role transitions, and the loss of loved ones. Caregivers also face specific challenges, such as increased stress, isolation, and fatigue. The Stages Behavioral Health Program services help improve the emotional wellbeing among older adults ages 60 and over and their caregivers. Stages Behavioral Health Program’s success story is about an individual, who we will refer to as, “Hope.” Hope was referred to Stages after she experienced a traumatic event that led to a fear of leaving home, tearfulness and crying spells, low energy, and intrusive thoughts regarding the event. Even though Hope experienced this traumatic event, she was determined to improve and return to the activities that she previously enjoyed. Hope never missed a scheduled BH meeting and she was receptive to completing in-between session tasks. Hope was also opened to exploring EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing), a therapeutic approach that is different from other approaches used to address trauma. Hope is now leaving her house to attend church and to spend time with her friends and family. Also, she reports she’s back to “playing in the dirt” and working in her flower beds and garden, which is something that Hope thoroughly enjoys. Regarding her experience with the Stages BH Program, Hope stated, “It’s been remarkable because it’s made me get over this trauma I’ve gone through. It’s done me a lot of good. I’m glad that you introduced me to EMDR because it works. It’s still working.” When the Stages’ clinician stated that it was nice to hear Hope laugh, Hope responded with, “I’ve been doing that more too.” Hope continues to improve emotional well-being with great determination. There are bright days filled with colorful flowers in Hope’s future!
Adult Protective Services: Hardin County Submitted by Travis Hackworth
Since November 2021, AAA3 has partnered with Hardin County DJFS to provide Adult Protective Services. Both agencies have been pleased with the impact and services the collaboration has provided to vulnerable adults 60 and older who are in danger of harm, are unable to protect themselves, and may have no one to assist them. As the Aging and Disability Resource Center, AAA3 has a unique understanding of the aging process and access to many resources to provide much needed services. In February of 2022, a local City Police Lieutenant reached out to AAA3’s APS worker. The Lieutenant stated that he had taken a Police report from an 80-year-old male who had been exploited for approximately $30,000.00. The Lieutenant had been holding on to the report trying to figure out a way to help “Bob” . The Lieutenant believed due to the circumstances of the exploitation no criminal charges could be filed. The Lieutenant having heard that Hardin County had new APS services reached out to the APS worker for assistance. Bob lives alone, is a widower and recently lost an adult daughter while his 2 other children live a long distance away. Bob stated that the “exploiter” showed up at his residence approximately a year ago offering to do yard work for money so he could have his car repaired. Bob is always willing to help someone in need and paid the person a couple hundred dollars for the work done. A few days later the exploiter asked Bob to “borrow” money and soon the exploiter was coming to Bob more frequently. At first the exploiter would tell Bob he needed the money to buy supplies to complete another job so he could earn the money to pay Bob back. The cycle eventually evolved to the point where Bob was intimidated and scared to tell the exploiter no when he asked for money. Bob accepted APS intervention and with the help of Hardin County Sheriff’s Detective, the APS worker obtained a protection order against the exploiter to keep him away from Bob. APS was able to assist in securing more information, allowing for a criminal charge to be filed against the exploiter. Additionally, APS referred Bob to AAA3 Stages BH for counseling. Bob later told the APS worker that he was grateful for the APS intervention , and he could now stop worrying and being afraid of the exploiter. Bob also stated that the Stages counseling had made him realize things about himself and that he was taught skills by the counselor which will allow him to say no, and prevent him from being exploited again.