The 22nd annual conference from the New York State Adult Abuse Training Institute, with the theme, “The Changing Landscape of Service Provision for Vulnerable Adults” reached record numbers in November 2015. With 86 enrolled in the Article 81 Guardianship course taught by Debra Sacks, Esq. and 413 registered for the formal conference on the 17th and 18th, the attendees of this conference proved that the voices of vulnerable adults are being heard. For the first time, the state regulator of New York State-chartered financial institutions has partnered with the OCFS Bureau of Adult Services and local APS, law enforcement, and nonprofits in a series of presentations to educate representatives of banks, credit unions and others in the financial community.

Through the Adult Protective Services e-Newsletters, this information acts as a guide for community members to recognize, prevent and report financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Assistant District Attorney Jessica Blain-Lewis of the Financial Crimes Unit of the Albany County DA’s Office participated in the presentation that was held at Siena College in November 2015, along with colleagues from the senior services population. These colleges also work with the Seniors and Law Enforcement Together SALT Program. Joint presentations were held last fall in New York; in Loudonville, Canandaigua, and New York City. Several previous training sessions for financial professionals had been held in the past; programs now extend to include the Department of Financial Services.

How do we define financial exploitation? What are the characteristics of victims and perpetrators? These are some questions these presentations outlined in the presentations, including the respective roles of DFS, APS, law enforcement and local community resources, what financial institutions can do to prevent exploitation, red flags to assist in recognizing financial exploitation, and federal and state laws that authorize the financial institutions to lawfully share customer information. The newsletter and presentations from Jessica Blain-Lewis and colleagues are a great resource in answering New Yorker’s questions about these issues as we continue to bring awareness to the financial exploitation of vulnerable adults.