The APS In-Home Investigations and Services program implemented a new casework practice model in 2014 known as SHIELD (Strategies that Help Intervention and Evaluation Leading to Decisions). SHIELD helps APS staff make informed decisions, identify needs, and resolve problems so that clients are less likely to be abused, neglected, or financially exploited in the future. SHIELD includes three assessment tools:
- Safety Assessment
- Risk of Recidivism Assessment
- Strengths and Needs Assessment
In FY 2017, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency completed a recalibration study on the Risk of Recidivism Assessment (RORA). APS evaluated the recommendations in the study and will incorporate accepted recommendations into the RORA tool, use of RORA results, and revisions to IMPACT, the DFPS case management information system.
APS also conducted refresher training on SHIELD tools for all field managers. One session was conducted in each of the five APS districts. Managers took the information presented and trained their staff, and APS set up a schedule to deliver this refresher to new staff twice per year in each district.
Partnership with Wellmed
In 2012, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) gave APS a grant to collaborate with the WellMed Charitable Foundation to develop new approaches to identifying and responding to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation (ANE). APS staff trained clinic staff on ANE and risk of ANE, reporting to DFPS, and the workings of the APS system. WellMed incorporated a screening tool and reporting protocols into its primary care process and referred at-risk clients to its social workers. WellMed also gave patients educational materials on ANE and made a stress-reduction program available to caregivers of older adults with dementia. APS specialists were embedded in San Antonio clinics to consult with WellMed staff.
The Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging completed an evaluation of these approaches in 2017. The evaluation found that clinic staff were better able to identify and respond to suspected ANE and risk of ANE and referred more clients who were at risk of ANE to support services. The project also increased reports to APS of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Client staff made more than 500 reports and APS confirmed more than two-thirds of those reports. The evaluation found that having embedded APS specialists at clinics to work directly with clinic staff was instrumental in improving coordination.