UW-Green Bay and the Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition provide toolkit to encourage state-wide Financial Abuse Specialist Teams (FASTs) expansion


Green Bay, WI — To counteract rising incidents of financial exploitation among the elderly in Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay and the Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition have released a Financial Abuse Specialist Team (FAST) toolkit. The toolkit aims to fortify community efforts across the state by encouraging and equipping FASTs with critical information and resources.

A FAST is a multidisciplinary team in a county or region composed of businesses, organizations, and agencies invested in the financial security of older adults. The purpose of the team is to prevent financial abuse and exploitation and to improve the system’s capacity to respond to the needs of victims in accessing support, advocacy and services.

With the release of this toolkit, the Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition has set a goal to establish five pilot teams across the state by September 2025 with each team strategically located within one of the five Adult Protective Services (APS) regions. Currently, Wisconsin’s four active FASTs cover only two of these regions. With the state’s elderly population increasing by 32% in the last decade, the need for additional support in all regions is more critical than ever.

“Financial Abuse Specialist Teams (FASTs) are very much needed,” says Better Business Bureau Senior Director of Investigations and Media Relations, Lisa Schiller. “Creating teams of people from different backgrounds that come together, collaborate and offer input from their varying areas of expertise has proven to be an important and worthwhile enterprise. The teams address important issues and provide invaluable information and objectives regarding those matters and areas of concern that affect our most vulnerable population.”

The Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition created the FAST toolkit after extensive research and contributions from experts statewide, including past and present FAST coordinators. The toolkit provides a solid framework for existing and new teams and includes guidelines on mission statements, team objectives, recruitment, structure, case management, meeting protocol and evaluation methods.

In 2022, financial losses reported by older adults in Wisconsin surged to over $43 million, marking a significant increase from the $31 million recorded in 2020. This alarming trend underscores the urgent need for specialized interventions. The Financial Abuse Specialist (FAST) toolkit bolsters critical resources that address the financial exploitation and abuse of vulnerable adults, including improved abuse case review and client support.

The Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition is supported by a grant from Lifespan of Greater Rochester and is a collaboration between UW-Green Bay and the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

To learn more about the FAST toolkit or to get involved on a team, visit the Wisconsin Elder Justice Coalition’s websiteor contact Debi Leis, Program Specialist, at leisd@uwgb.edu or 920-465-2469. Together, we can ensure that Wisconsin’s older adults live with the security and dignity they deserve.

About UW-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a school of resilient problem solvers who dare to reach higher with the power of education that ignites growth and answers the biggest challenges. Serving 10,300 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students as well as 67,500 continuing education learners annually, UW-Green Bay offers 200 academic degrees, programs, and certificates. With four campus locations in Northeast Wisconsin, the University’s access mission welcomes all students who want to learn, from every corner of the world. Championing bold thinking since opening its doors in 1965, it is a university on the rise – Wisconsin’s fastest growing UW. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


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