August 2006 | Volume 8 | No. 9

Policy & Legislation

Elder Justice Watch
Senate Finance Committee Unanimously Approves S. 2010 Elder Justice Act Substitute

On August 3, 2006, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, won full committee approval (20-0) for a substitute, slightly altered version of S. 2010 – Elder Justice Act. The substitute bill that passed is similar in scope to previous versions, but there were some key changes.

The substitute, among other things, would amend Title XX of the Social Security Act, to add a new subpart "Block Grants to States for Social Services and Elder Justice," said Kathy Miller, policy analyst for the National Association of State Units on Aging. Also, the bill would authorize national coordination for elder justice activities and research, she said, by establishing a federal elder justice coordinating council comprised of federal officials and agency leaders who would provide advice and counsel to the Secretary of Health and Human Services on elder justice issues.

According to Miller, the proposal, as marked up by the Senate Finance Committee, also would fund several new elder justice programs. Specifically, the bill would provide incentive grants to long term care facilities to attract and retain more qualified staff. The modified measure also would provide grants to states to provide adult protective services. These state grants would be authorized at $100 million a year through 2010. In addition, the bill includes $32.5 million in grants over four years to improve long term care ombudsman capacity and $40 million for ombudsman training on elder abuse.

Senate and House Cosponsors: Update
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), a member of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, joined Senators Evan Bayh (D-IN) and John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) this month as the most recent co-sponsors of S. 2010. Senator Bayh is a member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging and former governor of the state of Indiana. Senator Rockefeller serves as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee's Subcommittee on Health Care.

Meanwhile, on the House side, Representatives Donald M. Payne (D-NJ) and Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) have signed on as cosponsors of H.R. 4993, the companion to S. 2010. No committee activity has been scheduled in the House to date.

The totals are now 21 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 36 in the House.

For more information and updates, contact the Elder Justice Coalition at (202) 782-4140 or e-mail [email protected].

Related Links

State News

Alaska Governor Signs Law Creating New Office of Elder Fraud and Abuse

Governor Frank H. Murkowski signed a bill in June creating a new Office of Elder Fraud and Abuse to investigate complaints relating to fraud involving older Alaskans who are not otherwise able to bring a complaint without assistance, and to provide assistance to vulnerable older victims.

"It is a sad commentary that fraud and abuse of Alaska's seniors takes place, and that this change is needed," Rep. Murkowski was quoted saying after the bill's signing. "We believe that establishing this new mission within the Office of Public Advocacy will act as a deterrent to this type of activity, and give victims a new avenue to seek justice."

HB 399, sponsored by State Representative Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), requires the Office of Public Advocacy to work with local, state, and national law enforcement and social service agencies through cooperative agreements. This legislation also directs the Office of Public Advocacy to bring civil enforcement action if needed.

The state anticipates the Office of Elder Fraud and Abuse will be called upon to investigate more than 400 new cases in Alaska annually. The official start date is September 14, 2006.

Enrolled HB 399 >>

Sharing Ideas: Promising Practices Spotlight

Elder Abuse Crime Victims: What Every Librarian Needs to Know

Illinois recently launched an innovative (and potentially replicable) strategy to aid elderly victims of violent crimes in applying for resources under the Illinois Crimes Victim's Compensation Act.

The Assistance for Elderly Victims of Violence program is a new cooperative outreach and education effort initiated by the Illinois Court of Claims to prepare and enlist the aid of public librarians, law enforcement, area agency on aging advocates, and other professionals who are in a position to assist older victims of crime and abuse.

"This program will help elderly people gain access to much needed resources in the wake of violent crime," Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White said. "It is a big step in getting these victims back to living their regular lives."

The initiative's partners include the Illinois State Library, Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Illinois Department of Aging, Attorney General's Office, and Illinois State Police, Special Victims Division.

Beginning in August and continuing over to next year, seminars will be offered in every region throughout the state. Community Outreach Librarians are among those who will be attending the training.

The ultimate aims of this effort are to heighten awareness of the needs of older victims of crime and abuse for those who might be called upon to help; increase understanding of victims' legal rights and options; and also to facilitate community connections with local elder rights advocates.

"This is a great opportunity for all of us to help the elderly in Illinois and I am pleased to be part of it," the Secretary said.

For more information, contact Delores J. Martin, Director, Illinois Court of Claims, (217) 782-7101 or Mary Downing, Illinois State Library, (217) 782-5506, [email protected].

NCEA News & Resources

NCEA Webcasts and Teleconferences

Wednesday, September 27, 2006   2 PM Eastern Time
NCEA Live Webcast Rescheduled
Opportunity for Comment and Feedback:
Assessing Adult Protective Services Clients' Decision-making Capacity Training Module

Assessing APS clients' decision-making capacity is one of the most complex issues now facing Adult Protective Services. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is developing a new PowerPoint-based training module, titled Assessing Adult Protective Services Clients' Decision-making Capacity. This module is designed to provide APS staff with basic principles and standards for determining which clients need professional capacity evaluations.

We hope you will join us Wednesday, September 27 to discuss and review the content of this new APS training resource. The draft content will be available on the Web cast site shortly before the session begins.

NCEA Partner, the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), is the lead for this project in collaboration with NCEA training consultant, REFT, Inc. When completed, the module will be announced and available from NCEA's Web site and Training Library.

Joanne M. Otto, Executive Director, NAPSA, has over twenty-five years experience in the Adult Protective Services field. Her areas of interest and expertise include training, research, and program development. In addition to her work for NAPSA and NCEA, she also serves as editor of Victimization of the Elderly and Disabled, a bi-monthly publication of the Civic Research Institute.

Register Online

If you previously registered for this event, you will not have to register again. Just be sure when you log into the Webcast you are using the same computer that you used to register.

Not Able to Participate?
A taped replay will be available within 24 hours on the Web conferencing site at

Sara Aravanis, Director
National Center on Elder Abuse
[email protected]

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Thursday, September 21, 2006   2 PM Eastern Time
Telephone Conference Call: Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams

Share your experiences! Hear and learn from your peers and colleagues. Exchange ideas and information about Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams. The purpose of this conference call, organized by NCEA partner, the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, is to offer a "talk" forum for members of existing Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams, members of teams just starting out, and groups interested in starting a new team. The call is free.

Host and Moderator
Lori Stiegel, JD, ABA Commission on Law and Aging

Participant Dial-in Number Participant Pass Code
(888) 792-8461 60830350

RSVP via Email
Reserve your spot and submit questions and topics for discussion by Monday, September 18, 2006. Please RSVP [email protected]

Recommended Background

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In the News

The National Center on Elder Abuse provided seed funds to support the start up of three new Elder Abuse Fatality Review Teams earlier this spring. One of the new startup locations is Kane County, Illinois. An August 2006 Chicago Tribune article reports that this newly formed team will soon begin analyzing more than two dozen deaths. Kane County Coroner Charles West, lead organizer of the team, told the Tribune that "the program is expected to be a springboard for legislation that State Rep. Patricia Reid Lindner (R-Aurora) will introduce in November to set up review teams statewide."

Read full article (requires free registration) >> Team to Review Possible Elderly-Abuse Cases, Chicago Tribune, 4 August 2006

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State-Level Guardianship Data: An Exploratory Survey New!

NCEA is pleased to announce the release of a new publication, State-Level Guardianship Data: An Exploratory Survey. Guardianship is a critical protection for at-risk, frequently elderly individuals. It is also a drastic intervention in which the guardian is given substantial and often complete authority over the lives of vulnerable wards. Press accounts have detailed significant instances of malfeasance and exploitation. Yet, basic data on guardianship is scant, offering courts, policymakers, and practitioners little guidance for improving the system.

Learn more about the data that are maintained at the state level in this new ABA Commission on Law and Aging report, commissioned by NCEA. Read the report >>

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Sign up today for the National Center on Elder Abuse Listserve

NCEA Elder Abuse listserve provides a free, 24-hour, 7-day-a-week online link to others who are working on elder abuse issues. The NCEA listserve is a discussion forum for professionals working in elder abuse or allied fields. Membership is restricted to adult protective services practitioners and administrators, aging services practitioners and administrators, educators, health professionals, judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, policy makers, and researchers.

To request a subscription to the Elder Abuse listserve, just fill out the form at, or If you prefer, you can e-mail the list manager at [email protected]. All requests must include the information below:

  • Your name, profession, and e-mail address
  • A statement of your interest or expertise in elder abuse or adult protective services
  • Employer's name (if applicable) and address
  • Phone number (so that you can be contacted in the event of an e-mail problem)

See our Web site for more details.

In Focus

Protecting Seniors from Investment Fraud
by Patricia D. Struck, President, North American Security Administrators Association

From the "Greatest Generation" to the "Baby Boomers," seniors have worked hard to build both our nation's economic prosperity and a lifetime's worth of savings. As a securities regulator, I am committed to using every resource available to ensure that the golden years of our nation's seniors are not tarnished by investment fraud.

With the first 'Baby Boomers' turning 60 this year, my fellow state securities regulators and I share a deep concern that investment fraud among seniors could grow significantly. That's why we are pleased that federal regulators and others have joined us in our ongoing efforts to fight senior investment fraud through targeted, aggressive enforcement combined with financial education to protect investors from unscrupulous individuals.

The current landscape facing senior investors is littered with slick schemes and broken dreams.

A survey by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) shows that nearly half of all investor complaints received by state securities regulators come from seniors and one-third of enforcement actions taken by state securities regulators involve senior investment fraud. The survey also found that unregistered securities, variable annuities and equity-indexed annuities are the most pervasive financial product involved in senior investment fraud.

My concerns with variable and equity index annuities are not about the products. These are legitimate and suitable investments for some, but they are unsuitable for many retirees. And yet they are being pitched aggressively to seniors through investment seminars.

To learn more about senior investment fraud, please visit the NASAA Web site The site contains the Senior Investor Resource Center and information about how to contact your state's securities regulator to check the background of financial services professionals and the products they promote.

– Patricia Struck is Administrator of the Division of Securities of Wisconsin's Department of Financial Institutions. Her previous work includes serving as an attorney with a large regional bank, as a visiting lecturer in securities law at the University of Wisconsin Law School, and as chair of the business law section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.

More useful links

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Senior Investor Traps

"Free lunch" investment seminars. There's no such thing as a "free" lunch. Promoters often use the promise of a free meal to lure potential clients to hear pitches of unsuitable or questionable investments.

Variable Annuity Sales Practices. Variable annuities are tax-deferred investments that typically place mutual funds inside of an insurance wrapper for tax deferred potential investment growth. While these products are legitimate investments, regulators are concerned about their popularity in the sales community. Commissions on sales of variable annuities are very high, which provides incentive for sellers to engage in inappropriate sales. Variable annuities are only suitable for a small percentage of the investing public and generally are not appropriate for most seniors.

Personal Information Scams. The first step in separating a victim from his or her money is convincing the victim to divulge personal financial information. A pretext that is of current concern to insurance and securities regulators is the offer to help senior citizens qualify for prescription benefits by preparing forms. In the guise of filling out forms, the scamster may ask unnecessary questions about personal financial assets. To the con artist, this information provides a comprehensive laundry list of what is available for the taking.

Oil and Gas Investment Fraud. High oil prices mean oil and gas scams will continue to attract victims. Oil and gas deals are complicated investments that generally require a significant investment, often requiring a minimum deposit of thousands of dollars. Increasingly, these deals are being promoted via the Internet with claims of attractive tax advantages. Overall, these deals are highly risky, but the lure of high profits often proves irresistible to investors.

Prime Bank Schemes. These schemes often promise high-yield, tax-free returns that are said to result from "off-shore trades of bank debentures." Investors are told that only very wealthy people can get the benefit of these programs but the promoter is able to make it available to the victim. There are no such programs. These prime bank schemes are the securities equivalent of a purse snatch. Once the seller has your money, it's gone "off shore" forever.

Recovery Rooms. Scam artists buy and sell the names and financial information of victims who have lost money to "recovery room" operators who promise, in return for a fee that the victim must pay in advance, to recover the money lost in a worthless investment. These "sucker lists" are bought by crooks who know that people who have been deceived once are vulnerable to additional scams; especially scams that give hope of recovering lost money.

– Source: North American Securities Administrators Association, Inc.

On the Front Lines

Rhode Island Facts 1

  • The Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs' (DEA) Protective Services Unit maintains a total caseload of approximately 2,000 cases. Cases are initially triaged into one of three categories: self neglect (49%); abuse (43%); or early intervention (8%).
  • The initial allegations of elder mistreatment most frequently involve neglect (43%), psychological abuse (37%) and exploitation (31%).
  • According to the agency, DEA Protective Services relies on police assistance in about a third of abuse allegation cases. Restraining orders are used about 10 percent of the time, and guardianships about 10 percent of the time.
  • Rhode Island law requires any person who has reasonable cause to believe that an elderly person has been abused to report it to the DEA. Failure to report abuse of a person 60 or older can result in a fine of up to $1,000.

Source: Rhode Island Department of Elderly Affairs, State Plan on Aging FY 2004-2007

1The statistics highlighted in this column are gathered from a variety of state-specific data sources and should be cited using the sources referenced. Readers should note that elder abuse incidence and prevalence rates vary among states and differ depending upon the definitions used and state laws regarding reporting. The National Center on Elder Abuse cannot guarantee and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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Rhode Island Online Resources



Research & Scholarship

"Factors Associated With Self-Reported Elder Mistreatment in Iowa's Frailest Elders"
Research on Aging, Volume 28, No. 5 / September 2006
By Hilary Buri*, Jeanette M. Daly, RN, PhD, Arthur J. Hartz, MD, PhD, and Gerald J. Jogerst, MD, University of Iowa, College of Medicine

To identify factors associated with self-reported elder abuse, and how having help in completing a questionnaire affect self-reporting and access to care, University of Iowa researchers surveyed 1,017 community-dwelling frail elders participating in the Iowa Medicaid Waiver Program. The study sample was drawn randomly. The overall prevalence of self-reported abuse was 20.9%. Fifty-nine percent of respondents had help completing the questionnaire. Abuse was associated with low social provisions, more emergency room visits, being alone, and not having enough money. Among those receiving help completing the questionnaire, abuse was found to be associated with 1) older age, 2) low social provisions, 3) being alone, and 4) not having enough money. For those having no help completing the questionnaire, abuse was associated with 1) depression, 2) being alone, 3) more emergency room visits, and 4) low social provisions. Among community-living elders needing services in their homes, the prevalence of abuse was higher than that found in general population studies.

* Hilary Buri, second-year University of Iowa College of Medicine student, was selected as the first recipient of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) Rosalie Wolf Memorial Award for Best Student Paper/Poster.

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"Older Women's Descriptions and Understandings of Their Abusers"
by Therese Zink, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, C. Jeffrey Jacobson, Saundra Regan, Bonnie Fisher, and Stephanie Pabst, University of Cincinnati, OH
Violence Against Women, Vol. 12, No. 9 / September 2006

Thirty-eight women who were in abusive relationships since 55 years of age were interviewed to understand their abuse stories, ways of coping, and health care experiences. The women described the nature of abuse perpetrated by their partners, and tried to "make sense" of what they had experienced and to define "who" these men were. Responses of women ranged from personal theories about aging, to labels (ethnic stereotyping, demonizing, pathologizing), to characterizations of the abuser's private versus public behaviors. The authors explore the implications for assisting older victims and perpetrators.

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"Burn Injuries Inflicted on Children and the Elderly: A Framework for Clinical and Forensic Assessment"
by Adam R. Greenbaum, MBA, PhD, FRCS [email protected], et al
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Vol. 118, No. 2 / August 2006

Though inflicted burning is a relatively rare method of physical abuse, failure to diagnose it has far-reaching ramifications. These injuries pose both medical and forensic problems for physicians, along with unique ethical dilemmas. In this CME article written by surgeons and lawyers, the authors discuss legal considerations for U.S. physicians and suggest a clinical approach to the assessment of burn injuries of pediatric or elderly patients that may stem from abuse or neglect.

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"Bruising in the Geriatric Population"
by Laura Mosqueda, MD, [email protected], Kerry Burnight, PhD, [email protected], and Solomon Liao, MD, University of California, Irvine College of Medicine, Program in Geriatrics
U.S. Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice System Report / June 2006

The authors conclude: "In a step toward building the literature on the medical forensic aspects of elder mistreatment, this study documents the occurrence and progression of normal bruising in the geriatric population. The systematic documentation of accidentally occurring bruising in older adults provides a foundation for comparison when considering…bruises known to have been inflicted as the result of physical elder abuse, as well as bruises that arouse suspicions but are inconclusive."

On the Web >>

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Note: Scholarly literature is often published online before print publication. Check individual publisher sites for full-text availability. Many publishers offer pay-per-article service.

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To see abstracts of more published studies, visit the Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly at For assistance in obtaining references, e-mail CANE at [email protected].

Funding Opportunities

NIA Invites Applications for Developmental Research on Elder Mistreatment (R21)

The National Institute of Aging (NIA) invites applications from the research community to develop and test the feasibility, validity, reliability, and generalizability of methodologies for measuring the prevalence and incidence of elder mistreatment. Priority will be given to studies in the following areas: (1) innovative methods for estimating incidence; (2) standardization of definitions and measurement; (3) elaboration of risk factors; (4) methods of survey, clinical, and psychosocial identification of elder mistreatment; and (5) identification of elder mistreatment in institutional settings.

This funding announcement, released early August, is a reissue of a RFA-AG-05-009 ( which was previously issued March 23, 2005.

Expected Number of Awards: 4-6
Application Deadline: October 24, 2006
Download RFP >>

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Resources for Grant Writers

Calendar/Coming Up

September 6-8
17th Annual NAPSA Conference
National Adult Protective Services Association
Hyatt Regency, San Francisco, California
September 12-14, 2006
Providing Culturally Competent Services to Victims of Crime
U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center
Chicago, Illinois
September 14-16
11th International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Trauma
Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (formerly Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute)
Town & Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California
October 22-25
31st National Conference and Annual Meeting of the
National Citizens' Coalition for Nursing Home Reform (NCCNHR)
Hilton Crystal City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia

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Check our Web site often for more dates and events

New on the Bookshelf

  Judicial Determination of Capacity of Older Adults in Guardianship Proceedings
American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging, American Psychological Association, and National College of Probate Judges

Intended for a wide judicial audience, this new legal reference offers practical tools for capacity determination and resources useful in identifying less restrictive alternatives and fashioning limited guardianship, while recognizing that plenary guardianship often may be appropriate.

Introductory sections cover all the fundamentals: Role of Judges in Capacity Determination; Overview of Capacity Assessment; and Six Pillars of Capacity. A useful appendix contains Model Orders and Forms and Fact Sheets. A glossary also is included.

On the Web >>

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  Elder Abuse: A Public Health Perspective
American Public Health Association

A new book published this month by the American Public Health Association (APHA) offers a public health perspective of the complexity and implications of elder mistreatment. The book is titled, Elder Abuse: A Public Health Perspective. Randal W. Summers, PhD, a clinical psychologist, and Allan M. Hoffman, Ed.D., CHES, academician and certified health education specialist, are the co-editors.

The book addresses the variety of barriers involved in public health response, including the varying definitions of elder abuse; shortage of reliable data on its frequency; lack of consensus about causes and effective preventive measures; the national policy void; and lack of funds for both research and implementation of interventions.

Cost is $28.95 ($20.25 for APHA members). To order, call toll free 888-320-APHA; fax 888-361-APHA; or e-mail [email protected].

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  Caregivers Count Too! A Toolkit to Help Practitioners Assess the Needs of Family Caregivers
Family Caregiver Alliance

The National Center on Caregiving at the Family Caregiver Alliance has released a new online resource to promote the assessment of caregiver needs in health and long-term care settings.

Titled Caregivers Count Too! A Toolkit to Help Practitioners Assess the Needs of Family Caregivers, this guide is for any professional who works with older people and adults with disabilities, whether service is provided in the home, a hospital, a physician's office or a program in the community. The toolkit provides information and techniques to facilitate the assessment.

A particular value is the basic guidelines for conducting caregiver assessment, including the "who, when, where, and by whom" questions for implementing the assessment. The toolkit also includes links to recommended assessment tools. To view Caregivers Count Too! online, visit >>

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  Florida Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team Annual Report 2006

A new Florida Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team report confirms domestic violence affects all ages. The 2006 report includes findings from reviews of 19 cases involving 23 deaths. According to the figures released, 4 of the 19 cases reported involved victims age 68 or older. One case involved a 59-year-old victim. In two of the five cases involving an older victim, there were multiple victims. In at least four cases, the aggressor was a family member. The victims in two of the deaths were grandparents of the perpetrator; in two cases, the victim was a spouse or sibling. Firearms accounted for three of the five deaths. Among older victims, perpetrators were all male. In one case, the perpetrator was age 83.

The 2006 Florida DV Fatality Review Team report is available online at >>

Professional Development/Distance Learning

  Undue Influence: The Criminal Justice Response
YWCA Omaha, Nebraska / 2006

Prepared for YWCA Omaha and co-authored by Bonnie Brandl, MSW, Candice Heisler, JD, and Lori Stiegel, JD, this training curriculum for advocates and law enforcement professionals explores tactics and patterns associated with financial exploitation by undue influence and the parallels to domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault behaviors. A key aim of the training is to increase knowledge of effective investigative strategies.

YWCA Omaha along with the City of Omaha, Adult Protective Services, and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council of Omaha facilitated two one-day workshops during the pilot test year to educate local criminal justice system partners about recognizing and responding to undue influence of elders.

The new curriculum, which includes video footage as well as clips of the YWCA Omaha training, is available on CD-ROM for $5 shipping/handling. To order, contact the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life at (608) 255-0539, [email protected], or

Available free in PDF >>

Quote of the Month

"The greatest perpetrators of elder abuse are family members. The rich and powerful are as helpless and vulnerable as anyone else."

— Robert Blancato in "A Potential Family Problem That Awaits the Rich and Poor Alike," New York Times, 27 July 2006 (requires free registration)

Table of Contents

Policy & Legislation

State News

Sharing Ideas: Promising Practices Spotlight

NCEA News & Resources

In Focus

On the Frontlines

Research & Scholarship

Funding Opportunities

Calendar/Coming Up

New on the Bookshelf

Professional Development/Distance Learning

Quote of the Month

NCEA Newsletter

is published 10 times a year by


August 2006
Volume 8, No. 9
Sara Aravanis, Director
Susan Coombs Ficke, Contributing Writer/Editor

Request for Information
Call the NCEA Help Desk at
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[email protected], or visit

Subscribe to NCEA Newsletter


The NCEA Newsletter is supported in part by a grant, No. 90-AM-2792, from the U.S. Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human Services.

Points of view or opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the official views of AoA/HHS or any of the NCEA's affiliated partners.

NCEA always welcomes news from the field. Please direct comments and suggestions to the editor, Susan Coombs Ficke [email protected]


National Association of State Units on Aging
1201 15th Street, NW, Suite 350
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PHONE: (202) 898-2586
FAX: (202) 898-2583
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NCEA News Archives on the Internet >>