In its final evaluation report, CSU concluded that CASE-
- Used research and innovative strategies. Conceptually, reaching out to older Denver residents through their churches and synagogues was risky. There were few examples to draw upon in which a government entity such as a district attorney's office had approached the faith community to suggest a partnership to address a significant problem. Nevertheless, the CASE plan was sound, reasonable, and grounded in data that identified elder fraud as a significant issue worthy of the commitment of substantial financial and human capital to address it.
- Effectively reached older adults. One of the main purposes of the CASE program was to help older adults avoid financial exploitation. Reaching this audience is not easy because it is so diverse. The CASE partnership network built a connection to reach older adults with a credible and useful message. The CASE team worked within the framework of each of the faith partner's scheduled events to educate older congregation members.
- Was innovative in reaching goals. The CASE team used flexibility and ingenuity to accomplish their goals. Busy clergy were difficult to reach and convince that elder fraud was an issue they could address. The team had to continue to reevaluate their strategies as they became increasingly aware of the concerns and obstacles in partnering with the faith community.
- Provided followup reinforcement. Too many programs that address important problems commit dollars to print and media campaigns with the hope that results will occur. The CASE program not only built partnerships and educated clergy and lay leaders, but made sure that reinforcement services were available as they were needed. The CASE program demonstrated a commitment to effective and long-term change by sustaining its educational training with ongoing information and support. Services included the "Power Against Fraud" seminars for older adults, monthly fraud alerts, and the Web site.
- Successfully reached different cultures. Most programs recognize the need to reach different cultures when addressing issues, but language and cultural differences often make this a difficult task. The CASE team worked with individuals who were known and trusted in their ethnic communities to open doors. As a result, older African-American, Korean, Latino, and Russian adults were reached through materials and training. This initial effort will increase as word gets around that there is genuine help and support for individuals who may be fearful of approaching authorities.
- Established a network to prevent or report fraud. Another important goal of the CASE program was to increase reporting of elder fraud. The faith community advocate offered one of the most important services by answering questions and providing counseling and victim advocacy support through the Fraud Assistance Line. This community advocate served as an ongoing liaison in the growing relationship between faith communities, older adults, and the Denver District Attorney's Office. After trainings, it was often stated that "it is so reassuring to have someone to call." Indeed, assuring faith partners that they can reach 'a live person' when they call the District Attorney's Office serves to sustain the program.
|Partnering With Faith Communities To Provide Elder Fraud Prevention, Intervention, and Victim Services