The California legislature has recognized that most elder and dependent adults who are at the greatest risk of abuse suffer physical impairments and other health related conditions that place them in a vulnerable position, and therefore the State has declared a responsibility to protect these persons from abuse. To achieve this, the State through a system of comprehensive statutes mandates local adult protective services agencies to investigate reports of elder and dependent adult abuse, and to foster and promote community services for the economic, social and personal well-being, and protection of elders and dependent adults. Local adult protective services agencies are also directed to establish and maintain multidisciplinary teams to develop interagency strategies to remedy and prevent financial abuse, and to ensure maximum coordination with community resources.
The Santa Clara County Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) was formed in 1999, and is composed of members from Adult Protective Services, the Office of the Public Guardian, the Office of the District Attorney and the office of County Counsel. The mission of the FAST team is to identify, investigate, prevent, and remedy financial abuse of elders and dependent adults in Santa Clara County. Rapid response, team confidentiality, and a multi-disciplinary approach are key components of the team. Speaking out against financial abuse, educating the public, and supporting legislative changes designed to deter financial exploitation of elders and dependent adults are team values. With these key aspects and motivated members, prompt and decisive action to prevent and remedy financial abuse is accomplished.
The collaboration has created the Financial Abuse Specialist Team Practice Guide to assist individual victims as well as the larger community. As of November 15, 2009, FAST had recovered and/or prevented the loss of almost $195 million in assets of Public Guardian conservatees alone.
Santa Clara County FAST has been honored to receive the following award:
- 2009 Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers Award. The team was recognized for their impact on crime prevention/intervention and for playing a crucial role in keeping elders and dependent adults safe.