8:45 am          Welcome & Introductions, Joseph R. Carico, Esq., Executive Director, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid


9:00 am          Opening Plenary: Keynote                                                                                     

The Role of the Opioid Crisis in Elder Abuse: Lessons from Maine APS Investigations

Kimberly Snow, Research Associate, Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Portland, ME

As the opioid crisis has deepened over the past twenty years, its impact on individuals and families, including older adults, has grown. News stories across the country have described instances of older adults who have been abused or exploited by family members and others with opioid use disorder-- and older adults are not immune from opioid use disorder themselves. This presentation describes how the opioid crisis has impacted older adults through looking at Maine Adult Protective Services investigations. Through quantifying and analyzing opioid-related investigations, we have baseline information on how they have increased over time, how they differ from non-opioid-related investigations, and common themes around APS client and perpetrator use and abuse of opioids. Elder abuse advocates, law enforcement, substance abuse professionals, policymakers, and others can use this information to help strategize potential responses that mitigate the effects of the opioid crisis on all of us as we age.


10:05 am        Break *10-MINUTE SESSION CHANGE                                                                                                           


10:15 am        Breakout Sessions (choose one)


Protecting Our Seniors from Financial Abuse

DeMarion Johnston, Esq., General Counsel, Virginia Bankers Association                                            

The Virginia Bankers Association has served as the organized voice for the Commonwealth’s banking industry since 1893. In this presentation, VBA General Counsel DeMarion Johnston examines federal and state laws to combat elder financial abuse, and the role played by financial institutions in helping safeguard seniors and their assets.

Grandparents and Other Non-Parent Kinship Families: Legal Rights

Gerard Wallace, Esq., Program Director Retired, New York State Kinship Navigator

The number of grandparent and relative caregivers raising children is increasing each year, and our understanding of how to support these caregivers continues to evolve. Legal services can play an important role in connecting non-parent caregivers to support and providing legal assistance.  Issues include:  what is the caregiver's authority regarding schooling, medical care, access to documents; what are the "rights” of caregivers in third party custody and guardianship actions, in access to foster care, when "diverting" from foster care, etc. This Legal Basics training will provide law and aging network professionals with an overview of legal issues surrounding non-parent caregivers, including tools and initiatives to support families.

Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) – Part One, National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Alhambra, CA

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director, NCEA, and Alexis Calleros, Administrative Assistant, NCEA

Introduction to the National Center on Elder Abuse and why there is a resource center dedicated to the social justice issue of elder abuse. This segment will also explore the prevalence, risk factors, types of abuse and related resources utilized in the prevention and eradication of elder abuse.  This will lead into the discussion of multi-disciplinary teams and why there was a need for the Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE), as part of the U.S. Department of Justice Elder Justice Initiative.


11:30 am        Break *45 MINUTES FOR LUNCH


12:15 pm        Breakout Sessions (choose one)


Medicaid Fraud

Janine Myatt, Esq., Assistant Attorney General, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia

Although the vast majority of health care providers are honest and dedicated to providing high quality health care to their patients, Medicaid provider fraud costs American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually and threatens the integrity of the Medicaid program. The Virginia Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes Medicaid fraud across the Commonwealth, and also investigates allegations of abuse or neglect of elderly and incapacitated adults receiving benefits through the Medicaid program.


Elder Justice Efforts in a Restorative Justice Framework

Sarah M. Morton, Esq., Elderly Services Attorney, Blue Ridge Legal Services, Harrisonburg, VA

In this session, elder law attorney Sarah Morton will provide an introduction to the concept of restorative justice and will discuss its potential to provide an alternative, less adversarial, framework for senior victims, particularly those exploited by family members. Morton will examine the roots of restorative justice systems in both Native American tribes and their Canadian equivalent, First Nations tribes. She will also discuss issues related to mediation and power, and will provide a brief overview of current efforts to use restorative justice principles to address elder abuse and financial exploitation.


Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) – Part Two, National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Alhambra, CA

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director, NCEA, and Alexis Calleros, Administrative Assistant, NCEA

The second segment of the presentation will begin with a comprehensive tour of the EAGLE tool with instructions on access and pinning to mobile devises.  This will lead to the viewing of roll call videos that set the stage for scenarios and group discussions.  This will culminate in the exploration of a case involving physical abuse.


1:30 pm          Break *10-MINUTE SESSION CHANGE                 


1:40 pm          Breakout Sessions (choose one)


Virginia’s Family First Initiative: Prioritizing Prevention Services and Family-Based Placements                                                                              Lauren Weidner, Family First Change Management Specialist, VA Department of Social Services

Nancy Boyd, Kinship Navigator, Dickenson County Department of Social Services

Amanda Romans, Kinship Navigator, Smyth County Department of Social Services

Participants will learn about Virginia’s Family First Initiative, including the role of the Kinship Navigator program and resources available to assist grandfamilies and other non-parent families across the Commonwealth. Of the six programs established statewide, two serve Southwest Virginia. Each program serves a multi-county area. In part two of this session, participants will learn firsthand from regional navigators what services are available, who is eligible, and how to access assistance for these vulnerable families.


Seniors, Pain Relief, and Opioid Abuse: A History Lesson Taught Through Time 

Deborah H. Bell, Community Outreach Coordinator, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia

This session will take you through history, beginning from 3400 B.C. Mesopotamia and bringing you to present day.  By catapulting back in time, we will discuss how as a society, we have been taught to manage pain through various methods originally perceived as safe.  Through song lyrics, propaganda, and common misconceptions, we will examine how we have gotten so lost inside the world of pain management, that it has become difficult to find our way out – especially as we encounter the aging process.   


Battered, Broken, and Burned: Recognizing Injuries in Suspected Older Adult Abuse

Melissa Ratcliff Harper, MSN, APRN, SANE-A, SANE-P

Elder physical abuse is often undetected and unreported. Physical examination findings are often mistaken for normal sequelae of aging, medications or underlying disease processes. Evaluation of findings requires evaluating the history of the reported event, knowledge of the normal aging process, understanding injury pathophysiology, recognizing abnormal findings, and assessing the patient’s functional status. After attending the presentation, the participant will be able to discuss considerations in the evaluation of suspected elder abuse, identify injuries concerning abuse, and describe characteristics of burns and fractures in the suspected abuse case.


Elder Abuse Guide for Law Enforcement (EAGLE) – Part Three, National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Alhambra, CA

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director, NCEA, and Alexis Calleros, Administrative Assistant, NCEA

The third and final segment of this presentation will continue our investigation into cases involving neglect and as time allows, financial abuse perpetrated by a family member and astranger.  We then hope to have a wrap-up and Q and A session to insure that participants have experienced the EAGLE site and are confident in future use.  We will also leave participants with additional resources.


2:45 pm          Break *15-MINUTE SESSION CHANGE  


3:00 pm          Closing Plenary

Methamphetamine: The “Alpha Drug”

First Sergeant Charles L. Parsons, Drug Enforcement Section, Virginia State Police, Wytheville, VA

In this session, Sergeant Chuck Parsons will share how drug use has evolved from opioids to methamphetamine, the current drug of choice, with equally devastating consequences for older adults. He will discuss methamphetamine identification and the effects of methamphetamine on the human body and mind. Sources of methamphetamine and how methamphetamine enters and affects our communities will also be examined. Participants will learn why  methamphetamine is the "Alpha Drug" and why it has such a destructive impact on family units and the community at large.


4:15 pm          Closing Remarks, Daveena Sexton, Director of Advancement, Southwest Virginia Legal Aid


4:30 pm          Adjourn