Maximizing protection and dignity of older adults through collaboration, education and advocacy.
An Ohio free of older adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
HISTORY OF OCAPS
The Ohio Coalition for Adult Protective Services (OCAPS) is a statewide coalition that strives to enhance the provision of services to adults at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation through collaboration, education and advocacy, per the mission statement adopted by the organization.
OCAPS was formed in 1984, soon after passage of the APS law in Ohio (ORC 5101.60 -5101.72). Initially, over two dozen individuals representing multiple disciplines, sectors, systems, and locales came together to form OCAPS. OCAPS was united by a common interest in APS and elder abuse.
What drove the group was working to maintain a line item for Adult Services in the 1986-1987 state budget and securing a separate line item for APS in the years ahead. The early OCAPS pioneers braced themselves for the “long haul.” The mission statement was established: To enhance the quality and provision of services for the prevention, identification and treatment of adult abuse, neglect and exploitation through education, advocacy and networking.
OCAPS envisioned the creation of a statewide presence for elder abuse that was “something to be reckoned with.” Accomplishing such a lofty goal, required starting with a winning project, the kind that would solidify the Steering Committee for OCAPS, give the group name recognition, and draw others to the cause. The founders decided to hold a conference for this purpose. Hundreds attended from all parts of Ohio, eager for information about the APS Law and elder abuse and seeking a way out of the isolation that comes from early interest in a not-too-popular topic.
The first Annual Conference was considered only a first step for OCAPS. The dream of those who created the group was much bigger, namely:
To fund the Protective Services Law for Adults;
To promote additional public policy to protect vulnerable adults;
To educate professionals and the public about elder abuse;
To stimulate models for problem detection, prevention and treatment.
Early activities toward this end, in addition to the Annual Conference, included Elder Abuse Prevention Week designation, quarterly newsletters, fact sheets, and technical assistance to local agencies on program development. Advocacy for more funding and legislative change through testimony, letter writing campaigns, and meetings with elected and appointed public officials was also initiated.
More than thirty years later the original dream is still credible, and our mission is even more critical. OCAPS, the nation’s longest continuous state elder abuse network, has accomplished much throughout the years, thanks to a shared vision and commitment to that vision.
The challenges we face today require a renewed commitment to keep the dream alive and visible until it becomes a reality.
OCAPS is a volunteer-based organization that is led by a Board and functions through committees. We are seeking members to join one or more of OCAPS’ s standing committees.
Whether you are a long-time member of OCAPS or have just recently joined, your involvement is welcome and needed. New members can offer ideas and perspectives in assisting with the organization’s effectiveness. Tenured members bring their experience and knowledge of our members and older adults which helps us to better serve the needs of both. All members can help committees accomplish organizational objectives. A brief summary of each committee follows.
The Development Committee is tasked with increasing membership and revenue. Committee members will assist in developing OCAPS’s fundraising plan by exploring and pursuing funding opportunities. Tasks include recruiting and overseeing OCAPS membership, exploration of funding and grant opportunities. Brainstorming and developing new ideas on how to “sell” OCAPS to potential members and donors is an exciting part of this committee. Fundraising experience is not necessary, just a desire to support OCAPS’s mission!
The finance committee monitors OCAPS financial activity including reviewing and maintaining Directors' and Officers' liability insurance, preparing an annual operating budget, and reviewing the annual financial audit.
Public Policy Committee
The Public Policy Committee monitors state and federal legislation for its impact, and advocates on issues and legislation effecting the abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults and other issues germane to adult protective service programs. Following a nearly 69% increase in APS cases from SFY 2018-SFY 2020, most of the committee’s energy has been focused on the expansion of the APS line item. The committee produced an advocacy tool kit to guide OCAPS members and others seeking to educate and lobby state legislators to expand the funding to APS.
The Conference Committee serves to emphasize the development of increased skills, knowledge, and abilities of APS professionals and community partners. Each year, the committee hosts a dynamic conference that covers diverse topics related to preventing, addressing, and reporting elder abuse.
The Communications Committee was established in early 2021 and is just getting started. The committee’s focus is messaging which includes generating and distributing information about the work of OCAPS and other pertinent issues to its membership, partners, and individuals. The committee works with other committees on messaging and new methods of communicating with members and partners to achieve our mission. At this time, the Communications Committee is most in need of a member expert or organization that is willing and able to manage website content based on guidance provided by the communications committee.
OCAPS Membership gives you access to our vast community and resources. Join us today.
OCAPS is a not-for-profit organization and we depend on your support.