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Administration on Aging (AoA)

Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Assistance Systems (OAA Title IV)

Authorizing Legislation: Title IV, Section 420 (2)(a) of the Older Americans Act of 1965, as amended.

The Purpose of the Program and How it Works

Model Approaches to Statewide Legal Assistance Systems (Model Approaches) is a discretionary grant program designed to help states develop and implement cost-effective, replicable approaches for integrating low cost service mechanisms into the broader tapestry of state legal service delivery networks. Senior legal helplines are a key service delivery component which assist seniors in accessing quality legal services to ensure their rights and financial security, and to enhance their choice and independence.

Thirty-one states have received funding under the Model Approaches grant program:

  • 2006 Grantees: Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota, Virginia
  • 2007 Grantees: Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania
  • 2009 Grantees: California, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont
  • 2010 Grantees: Alaska, Delaware, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia

Key project partners include the State Legal Assistance Developer, senior legal helplines, Title III-B legal services providers, private bar pro-bono attorneys, law school clinics, and self-help sites. By promoting the seamless integration of these vital low-cost legal service delivery components, the program enables seniors most in need to access quality legal services. In addition, maximum beneficial impact from limited resources is achieved.

Model Approaches features strong leadership at the state level to achieve its service delivery integration objectives. State Legal Assistance Developers take the lead in incorporating the use of legal helplines and other low-cost mechanisms into the state legal services planning and development process.

The planning process includes the comprehensive assessment of legal service needs and the capacity of current service delivery systems to meet those identified needs. The ultimate goal is the development of comprehensive, statewide service delivery standards that address program consistency, accountability, and overall program results.

Model Approaches also features the creation of linkages with services providers and professionals in the broader community-based aging and elder rights networks, including AAAs, Aging and Disability Resource Centers, state long-term care ombudsmen, and Adult Protective Services. These linkages leverage the strengths of both elder rights and aging service networks for the provision of quality service to seniors most in need.

Ultimately, legal assistance provided through cost-effective service delivery systems as demonstrated through Model Approaches will have a direct impact on the ability of seniors to optimize choices and remain independent in their homes and communities.

Model Approaches grantees currently are involved in:

  • Strengthening, coordinating and leveraging the existing legal network and its resources
  • Involving stakeholders in statewide planning and collaboration
  • Creating statewide standards and defining measurable units of legal assistance
  • Providing legal education to empower seniors and help prevent legal problems
  • Improving seniors’ access to existing legal assistance and services

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Data Highlight Extensive Services Provided to Seniors

Data collection results have not yet been reported by the Model Approaches program. However, data from the helpline component alone in FY 2005 demonstrated that the program:

  • Handled over 96,000 calls
  • Closed nearly 65,000 cases with telephone advice or additional brief service
  • Reached more than 262,500 seniors through workshops and outreach events

Outcomes achieved and anticipated include:

  • Enhanced collaboration among Area Agencies on Aging, ADRCs, and legal providers
  • Improved visibility and capacity of legal services programs and helplines
  • Fostered private bar initiatives and collaborations
  • Strengthened systems that reach underserved and hard-to-reach seniors most in need

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Funding History

FY 2005:$ 1,471,147
FY 2006:$ 1,455,435
FY 2007:$ 1,456,436
FY 2008:$ 1,431,547
FY 2009:$ 1,974,000
FY 2010:$ 1,999,569
FY 2011:$ 1,999,569
FY 2012:$ 1,940,442

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Resources and Useful Links

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Last Modified: 12/31/1600