During the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference on Thursday, June 12, 2014, William Mitchell College of Law announced the creation of the Minnesota Elder Justice Center, a 501(c) nonprofit that will work to prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders.
Professor Iris Freeman delivered the announcement in the William Mitchell Auditorium to an audience of attorneys, social workers, law enforcement officials, health care professionals, and other concerned community members. Freeman is an adjunct professor at William Mitchell and director of the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project (VAJP), an advocacy collaborative that works to protect Minnesota’s most vulnerable citizens from maltreatment through legislative, policy, and educational efforts.
“This is a proud moment, in part because we make the announcement in conjunction with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day,” Freeman said on Thursday.
The center joins two Minnesota initiatives,the S.A.F.E. Elders Initiative developed by the Anoka County attorney’s office and the Center for Elder Justice and Policy at William Mitchell, in an effort to focus and accelerate work in the prevention of elder abuse. It will offer valuable resources to the community through its website.
“The Minnesota Elder Justice Center will pursue the mission of mobilizing to prevent and alleviate abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of elders and vulnerable adults,” said Freeman. “We will work as we do today in building community awareness, and we will further our work through professional education and practice, and through public policy.”
Professor Freeman will serve as president of the organization, working alongside members of the founding board of directors, Suzanne M. Scheller, of Scheller Legal Solutions, and Susan M. Voigt, of Voigt, Rodè & Boxeth. Scheller will serve as secretary, and Voigt will serve as treasurer. Members of the steering committee include Tony Palumbo, Anoka County attorney; Amanda Vickstrom, community relations director for the Anoka County Attorney’s Office; Carmen Castaneda, of Hennepin County Adult Protective Services; Sean Burke, of the Disability Law Center; Amy McDonough, of the Minnesota Private Colleges Association; Rob Rode, of Voigt, Rodè & Boxeth; and Connie Moore, executive director of Alexandra House.
The Minnesota Elder Justice Center is expected to launch with an executive director and an office at William Mitchell College of Law on Oct. 1, 2014.