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Elder Service Connections


Elder Service Connections (Formerly CAPSTONES Project)



In October 2018, The State of Maine Adult Protective Services was awarded a three year intervention research grant from Administration for Community Living (ACL) to work in partnership Dr. David Burns from the University of Toronto, national MacArthur Fellow and Elder Justice Expert, MT Connolly, the Elder Abuse Institute of Maine and a team of national researchers to launch a comprehensive service delivery model that provided client-directed victim services to Maine Adult Protective Services  clients in Maine's Cumberland and York Counties.  


This project developed model intervention, called RISE, to assist with individuals experiencing elder mistreatment and addressed gaps in services for older victims.  It represents one of the largest pieces of APS intervention research to date.  With funding from Maine Adult Protective Services in July of 2021, we were able to continue and expand this model across all counties in Maine starting in July, 2021. 

To read more about the original research project, follow this link.

Program Overview 

Elder Service Connections is a program of EAIME that works in partnership with Maine Adult Protective Services (APS) to provide auxiliary support to older adults that have had open cases with APS.  Individuals that have been affected by or at risk of being affected by financial exploitation, neglect, abuse, and/or self neglect, and are 60 years or older, are eligible to work with an Advocate of the Elder Service Connections Program.

The Advocate works directly with clients, caregivers, and/or other support people of the client to: support client goals, strengthen already-made service connections, refer to new services, build trusting relationships, work with clients through significant life changes, and assist in the growth of the client's overall well-being.

Description of Approach

The program’s philosophy is firmly rooted in a person-centered approach, where the client’s autonomy and preferences lead the client-Advocate relationship.  Advocates are trained in 4 core modalities that are used as tools for establishing relationships, strengthening support networks, building trust and rapport, navigating change phases, and repairing harm, among many other applications.  These modalities, a mix of evidence-based and exploratory practices, include: Supported Decision Making, Restorative Justice, Motivational Interviewing, and Teaming.  

Fundamental to the work of the Advocate is the ability to work not only with clients, but also with others that the client includes as part of their self-identified goals.  Community-based collaboration recognizes that informal and formal supports contribute to the well-being of clients and that strengthened connections are critical to harm-reduction.



  • Over 200 clients served since mid-2019

  • Worked on complex cases that have included navigation of: family dynamics, criminal justice system involvement, contested guardianship, benefits counseling, and many others 

  • Grew from a grant-funded research project to multi-year funded, established program

  • Created data collection system to evaluate program efficacy and advocate on a state/federal policy level


Staff List:

  • Polly Madson Cox, Program Supervisor

  • Lacey Donle, Program Specialist

  • Alice Barakagwira, Advocate

  • Alishia Campbell, Advocate

  • Abby Gautrau, Advocate

  • Ella Twomey, Advocate

  • Sheena Boone, Advocate

  • Carrie-Jo LeBlanc, Advocate

  • Melanie Desjardins, Advocate

  • Jacinta Deschaine, Advocate


Vision for the Future

Elder Service Connections will continue to grow to meet the needs of clients where they are and will be used by others as a model of responsive intervention to elder abuse.

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