TEAM Institute Senior Justice Division
This division promotes justice for older adults through three multidisciplinary teams which are the 1) Harris County Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team (EFFORT), 2) Houston Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST), and the 3) Senior Justice Assessment Center (SJAC). Brief descriptions of each team are provided below.
The Harris County Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team (EAFRT, pronounced “EFFORT”)
EFFORT was formed in 2003 with a small seed grant awarded to the TEAM Institute from the American Bar Association. EFFORT operates under the auspices of the Texas Health and Safety Code (Chapter 672) and is a subcommittee of the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. EFFORT meets monthly to review deaths of elderly that are the result of or related to abuse, neglect or exploitation. This group works to enhance victim services by identifying systemic problems related to the death of an older adult that can be addressed to prevent future deaths. This team consists of APS, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, geriatricians, nurse practitioners, social work, public health, the Houston Police Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (i.e. medical examiners) and trauma and injury specialists. This team produces bi-annual written set of recommendations to the Harris County Commissioners. These reports are public documents and can be viewed by clicking X.
Houston's Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST)
The H-FAST team is led by the Houston Better Business Bureau and includes a group of professionals from various disciplines who meet monthly regularly to discuss cases of financial abuse, current scams, develop educational material, train frontline workers and community members and provide consultation on specific cases of elder financial exploitation. Professionals involved with H-FAST include, the better business bureau, geriatric social work, APS, court investigators, geriatric medicine, law enforcement, long-term care ombudsman, mental health professionals, clergy and others. Utilizing the different professionals and leveraging resources and practices this group is able to provide a multidisciplinary approach to investigation, prevention and intervention.
Senior Justice Assessment Center (SJAC)
The SJAC began in 2017 as a “one-stop-shop” for older adults who are victims of crimes in Harris County. This team include the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Texas Office of the Attorney General, Houston Police Department, APS, UTHealth geriatric medicine and psychiatry, Forensic Nursing, social work, guardianship, county protective services and public health. This group works to minimize the re-victimization of older adult victims of elder abuse by coordinating a comprehensive assessment and interview of the senior victim, at a single location, and then working together to implement a robust response that includes medical, social and legal as necessary. This group has had significant success in increasing justice for victims including prosecutions, restitution and coordinating safe long-term environments.