MINEOLA, NEW YORK, December 14, 2020- The Huguette Clark Foundation announced that it has awarded a $50,000 grant to FCA to support its Safe Observant Seniors (SOS) Program, an innovative and proven project that is addressing the problem of elder exploitation in Nassau County. This grant is the largest award to date that FCA has received from the Huguette Clark Foundation.
FCA’s SOS program addresses the needs of the vulnerable senior population through a comprehensive continuum of care. Its range of services include information and referral services, personal advocacy and accompaniment, emotional support and safety services, shelter/housing services, criminal/civil justice system assistance, and community education and outreach.
SOS helps to coordinate services by working directly with Adult Protective Services, the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, the Safe Center LI, legal representatives, physicians, the Nassau County Police Department, senior centers, and members of the community.
SOS provides critical care to seniors who have experienced elder abuse by offering case management and counseling services. Case managers ensure that the victims of elder abuse have safety measures in place and know how to reach out to law enforcement as needed. FCA SOS staff is working closely with the newly formed Nassau County Office of Crime Victim Advocate and accepts cases directly from that office
The SOS program was called upon more than ever this year with the significantly increased need to address the rise in senior exploitation and increased demand for supportive services for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Client requests are expected to remain high throughout the coming months with no clear end to the pandemic in sight.
FCA staff has ramped up efforts to provide family counseling to assist in high-pressure situations such as those where clients are not isolated but instead reside in households in which there is a history of conflict, mental health and substance abuse issues resulting in abusive behaviors towards the senior client.
For those who have experienced delays in obtaining needed medical treatments due to constraints imposed by COVID, FCA staff jumped in to facilitate this process. FCA has also served as liaison with medical professionals where possible.
FCA SOS staff assists clients in resolving Medicare/Medicaid delays and completing other important paperwork and processes.
FCA SOS staff has increased efforts to locate sources of food and/or in-home help for clients to respond to the increased food insecurity within our senior population brought on by the pandemic.
The grant from the Huguette Clark Foundation will enable the SOS program to build on this success and expand its services within all these areas.
Ian Clark Devine, President of the Huguette Clark Foundation, stated, “Programs like SOS provide vital support to seniors at a time when they are suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” “We are pleased to support the SOS program for a second year so that it can expand its services to seniors. Its record demonstrates that a multi-disciplinary approach can be very effective, and we hope it can be a model for other communities.”
Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, FCA President & CEO, mentioned, “This grant is critical to FCA's efforts to protect and serve Long Island's lonely, isolated and vulnerable seniors, all of whom are at much greater risk for exploitation during the COVID-19 crisis. We are grateful for the Huguette Clark Foundation's continued support and we look forward to building on our successes as we head into 2021.”
Lisa Stern, FCA Assistant Vice President of Senior & Adult Services, added, “The Huguette Clark Foundation support enables FCA’s Safe Observant Senior Program to respond to the increase in elder abuse cases we have been seeing throughout the pandemic. Increased staffing means FCA can offer more intensive case management services and more effectively address the trauma seniors experience when they are victims of abuse.”
FCA continues to offer community education to inform seniors that there is help available. Seniors who need assistance can contact FCA’s SOS Program at 516.485-3425. All calls are confidential and there is no charge for the program.
About the Huguette Clark Foundation
The Huguette Clark Foundation for Protection of Elders was created by members of the Clark family to honor their late aunt, Huguette Clark, who was victimized by her caregivers and advisors for more than two decades. The Foundation (huguetteclarkfoundation.org) supports innovative organizations and programs to fight the financial abuse of elders, addressing needs often overlooked by traditional programs. The Foundation’s strategy is to make targeted early-stage grants to develop programs that later can be scaled or replicated for broad impact. Grants are related to the abuse that Huguette Clark herself suffered, specifically the prevention of undue influence, manipulation and financial exploitation by institutions and professionals.
The Huguette Clark Foundation, a tax-exempt public charity, has awarded grants since 2013 to support innovative education and advocacy programs to combat elder exploitation. Earlier grants provided financial support for programs to train Adult Protective Service workers; help banks implement federal guidelines for sharing customer information with investigatory agencies in cases of suspected elder financial exploitation; and develop model civil statutes to help victims of financial exploitation seek justice, recover assets, and rebuild their lives.
FCA is a not-for-profit agency helping more than 30,000 Long Islanders each year. For over 135 years, the organization has worked to protect and strengthen vulnerable children, seniors, families, and communities on Long Island.
FCA believes in the potential of Long Island - a place where no child, senior, family, or community is left to struggle alone with barriers to health care, education, employment, or economic prosperity. Long Island continues to be one of the greatest places in the world to live and raise a family for many; FCA exists to ensure that be the case for all.
For more information about FCA, visit: FCALI.org