FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Harrisburg, PA – Today, Pennsylvania Department of Aging Secretary Teresa Osborne announced that the department has received a federal grant to enhance and strengthen Pennsylvania's senior legal service delivery systems. The grant will enable the department to further protect the rights, health, and safety of older Pennsylvanians, with a focus on victims of elder abuse and exploitation.
“Elder justice is one of the foundational principles of the Department of Aging.,” said Secretary Osborne. “It is our duty to ensure that adequate legal resources are available to protect vulnerable older Pennsylvanians from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This grant is a positive step toward fulfilling that objective.”
The purpose of the grant is to implement a well-integrated and cost-effective legal service delivery system that maximizes the impact of limited legal resources for older Pennsylvanians with the greatest need. This entails assessing the capacity of the current legal service delivery system, developing and implementing legal service delivery standards and guidelines as well as data collection and reporting systems, creating and strengthening no-cost and low-cost legal service delivery mechanisms, and establishing new guardianship and court-based initiatives.
The department will fulfill the grant requirements through a partnership with the SeniorLAW Center, a non-profit organization which improves the lives of older Pennsylvanians and protects their rights through legal representation, education, and advocacy.
“We are proud to make essential legal services and protections more accessible than ever through this project,” said SeniorLAW Center Executive Director Karen Buck. “The initiative will include many diverse leaders of the aging network and legal community, and will help save the state money while investing in the security, safety, and health of our seniors. Pennsylvania can and will be a national model for elder justice.”
The department will be granted $178,500 per year for a three-year project period. There were 28 states eligible for funding and six awards were selected for funding.
“Successfully securing this grant is yet another example of a government that works to serve and protect its citizens,” said Secretary Osborne. “The Department of Aging looks forward to working in collaboration with the SeniorLaw Center on this important initiative that will bring the power of the law to help older Pennsylvanians live freely and securely, with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Drew Wilburne 717-705-3702 or Derek Beyer 717-783-6210