Justice Department and CNCS Announce Elder Justice AmeriCorps; $2 Million Partnership Will Expand Legal Resources for Older Crime Victims

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Jun 14, 2016

WASHINGTON –Today, at the United State of Women Summit, the Department of Justice and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), through its new Elder Justice AmeriCorps partnership, announced $2 million in grants to provide legal assistance and support services to victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation – the majority of whom are women. 

The Elder Justice AmeriCorps program is funded by the Justice Department’s Elder Justice Initiative, Office for Victims of Crime and CNCS, the federal agency which administers AmeriCorps and other national service programs.  This new effort is also supported by the Justice Department’s Office for Access to Justice.  

The new program will support 300 AmeriCorps members, serving through Equal Justice Works, over the next two years in Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

"Elder abuse and exploitation exact an enormous physical, financial and emotional toll on victims, many of whom never find the comprehensive support they so desperately need,” said Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.  “Elder Justice AmeriCorps deploys a volunteer army of legal advocates in communities across the country, giving thousands of our nation’s elders a place to turn for healing and justice.”

“After a lifetime of hard work, serving our nation, and raising their families, our seniors are often targeted by unscrupulous actors who intend to take advantage of them, making them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation,” Said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “Through Elder Justice AmeriCorps, we are expanding our partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice to connect these older adults with highly skilled AmeriCorps members who can provide legal services that will ensure our seniors have the care and support they need and deserve.”

The AmeriCorps members are expected to serve more than 4,000 older adults each year by providing screenings for abuse, neglect or exploitation; referrals to support services associated to abuse or neglect; and high-quality legal services. Elder Justice AmeriCorps members are also expected to leverage an additional 300 community volunteers who will be engaged in the provision of specialized legal services to older adults who have been victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.

Elder Justice AmeriCorps is the first-ever army of new lawyers and paralegals to help victims of those who prey on our nation’s elders.  It expands on an existing partnership between the two agencies, which includes justice AmeriCorps, a legal aid program launched in 2014 by the Department of Justice and CNCS to serve unaccompanied minors.  Upon completion of their service, Elder Justice AmeriCorps members will be eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, or scholarship, to help pay for additional education or pay back student loans.

On June 14 the White House Council on Women and Girls is convening the first United State of Women Summit, a large-scale effort to rally together advocates of gender equality to highlight what we've achieved, identify the challenges that remain, and chart the course for addressing them. Experts, advocates, and grassroots and business leaders who work in both domestic and international arenas will gather to highlight key issues affecting women and girls.  More information on the summit is available at www.theunitedstateofwomen.org.

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