Harris County launched the Senior Justice Assessment Center today, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, at 2525 Murworth in the Medical Center area. The Center is designed to better investigate and prosecute elder abuse in Harris County.
The Center, the first of its kind in Texas, will be similar to the county’s Children’s Assessment Center, pulling together experts in geriatric medicine, protective services, civil and criminal prosecution and law enforcement.
“I think this is a tremendous step forward,” Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan said at this morning’s program launch. “This [partnership] is another statement by Harris County that we care and want to do something about it.”
The Center will bring together agencies at one location to assess and develop interventions for seniors suspected of being abused, neglected, exploited, or experiencing self-neglect. Harris County Adult Protective Services, the Houston Police Department, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Harris County Attorney’s Office, and UT Health will provide staffing at one location where suspected victims can be interviewed and helped by trained individuals and directed to the appropriate agencies for further assistance.
Attorneys from the Harris County Attorney’s Office specializing in disability and elder law played key roles in developing the concept and design of the Center. The County Attorney Attorney’s Office worked with Adult Protective Services and Harris County Budget Management to help obtain a $383,000 grant from the governor’s office for the first year of a three-year pilot project.
THE HARRIS COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
The Harris County Attorney’s Office represents the County, its departments, elected and appointed officials and employees in all civil matters that involve county business. The Office represents the Harris County Hospital District, the Harris County Flood Control District, the Harris County Appraisal Review Board, and the Greater 911 Emergency Network, which are separate legal entities. The Office also represents the State of Texas in mental health commitments and children’s protective services cases and assists Harris County in administration of the guardianship program, which cares for elderly and disabled individuals who are unable to care for themselves.