Author: Lara Stauning

AARP CT and CT Dept. of Aging and Disability Services Host Technology Series

Virtual U: Assistive Technology for Access Training – 9/29/2022 @1PM ET

Learn how technology can increase access for individuals you serve in your professional and personal lives.

Join AARP Connecticut, Dr. Lauren Tucker, the State of Connecticut Department of Aging & Disability Services and participants from across the country for this FREE, virtual 2-hour training on Thursday, September 29, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. ET | 12:00 p.m. CT | 11:00 a.m. MT | 10:00 a.m. PT – AARP membership not required.

This session is approved for (2.0) Continuing Education Units by NASW/CT and meets the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal. This approval is also applicable for license renewals for CT, LPCs, LMFTs, and licensed psychologists.

Facilitating Virtual Training Sessions: Tips & Tools to Reduce Glitches 10/27/2022 @1PM ET

Do your presentations/trainings in the virtual space convey the message you want?

Join AARP Connecticut, Dr. Lauren Tucker, the State of Connecticut Department of Aging & Disability Services and participants from across the country for this FREE, virtual 2-hour training on Thursday, October 27, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. ET | 12:00 p.m. CT | 11:00 a.m. MT | 10:00 a.m. PT – AARP membership not required.This session is approved for (2.0) Continuing Education Units by NASW/CT and meets the continuing education criteria for CT Social Work Licensure renewal. This approval is also applicable for license renewals for CT, LPCs, LMFTs, and licensed psychologists.

State Unit on Aging Announces Several Job Opportunities

We are reaching out to share several job opportunities at the State of Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability that have just been posted on the Department of Administrative Services JobAps website. The State Unit on Aging is recruiting for multiple positions.

Social Services Program Manager: Click Here to See Job Posting, Closing Date 7/19/22

Associate Research Analyst: Click Here to See Job Posting, Closing Date 7/21/22

Field Representative: Click Here to See Job Posting, Closing Date 7/21/22

Health Program Assistant 2: Click Here to See Job Posting, Closing Date 7/21/22

Please share this with your networks. Thank you!

CEJC 2022 Elder Justice Symposium, 10/18/22

The Assumptions We Hold: Rethinking Commonly-Held Beliefs among Elder Justice Professionals

2022 Coalition for Elder Justice in CT Virtual Symposium by AARP CT

Exploring assumptions we may have can positively impact our experience in the elder justice space. Join the Coalition for Elder Justice in CT (CEJC), AARP CT and attendees from around the country for this FREE, virtual symposium taking place on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, at 1:30 PM ET| 12:30 PM CT| 11:30 AM MT| 10:30 AM PT.  Membership is not required to attend. 

This event is a collaboration between the Coalition for Elder Justice in CT (CEJC) and AARP CT to offer you professional development credits and also offer trending and global information from our AARP issue experts and CEJC members.  The focus of the event is to address this year’s symposium theme Inclusion, Integration & Innovation.  The symposium will tackle themes focused on Ageism & Exploitation, Social Integration Impact on Health Equity, Successful Digital Inclusion Models and Consumer Insights Driving Innovation.  Professional applications are being pursued with the National Association for Social Workers/ CT Chapter, CT Nurses Association (nationwide) and will be pursued with the CT Police Academy for law enforcement recertifications (CT only).  More details on this closer to the event.

Registration is required to have access to the virtual platform (Zoom), go to  If you have questions you can contact Lara Stauning from CEJC ([email protected]) or Erica Michalowski from AARP CT ([email protected] )

Find Out How Smart Technology Empowers Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities


Oak Hill’s New England Assistive Technology (NEAT) Center connects people with the latest assistive technology, helping them effectively perform many tasks independently, overcome obstacles, and enhance their quality of life.

Smart technology is empowering people with disabilities and aging adults by making homes more accessible. New smart home tools can provide a unique level of support and access to the world for people with disabilities and those 50 and over, and they can be the lifeline that helps someone remain in their home, or age in place.

The NEAT Center offers education and training on these devices so that anyone can incorporate them into their everyday lives. The NEAT Center is proud to offer the Smart Home on Wheels (SHOW), a mobile demonstration center where individuals and groups can learn more about technology to support independent living.


Sponsored by AARP, NEAT will be hosting monthly smart technology demonstrations in 2022. Each tour will highlight a specific area of need to showcase the latest, cutting-edge technologies and offer insight on the ways that these tools can support independent living and social connections.

Register here to join us for these FREE events, located at 33 Coventry Street, Hartford, CT 06112
• July 15, 12 pm – 2 pm; Fall Detection
• August 22, 12 pm – 2 pm; Routines with Alexa vs. Google
• September 6, 6 pm – 8 pm; Smart Lights & Smart Plugs
• October 6, 12 pm – 2 pm; Entertainment: Fire TV Cube, Adaptive Xbox Controller
• November 2, 12 pm – 2 pm; Low Vision, Hearing Impairment, & AAC (Alexa Compatibility)
• December 1, 12 pm – 2 pm; Security: Motion Detection, Door & Window Sensors, & Smart Lock

For more information, contact [email protected]

ACL Announces COVID-19 Tests for People Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Tests for people who are blind or have low vision

Testing is a critical part of the fight against COVID-19, but some people who are blind or have low vision face barriers using many of the COVID-19 tests on the market. 

On June 23, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration launched a new initiative to expand the availability of testing options that are more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. This initiative complements the Administration’s efforts to expand production of more accessible tests and work with private sector partners on the development of new accessible tests. 

How to get the tests:  

Order  online or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

  • Each order will include 2 rapid-antigen tests that are more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. 
  • Orders will ship free, while supplies last.  

What’s needed to use the tests:

To use the tests, you must:

What makes the tests more accessible:

The test works with the app to provide:

  • Audio step-by-step instructions for administering the test.
  • Audio test results.

Who should order these tests:

Because of limited supply, we ask that you only order the more accessible tests if you do not have other options for using the standard COVID-19 tests, such as:

  • Receiving help from a household member, family, or trusted friend (in person, or through video calling platforms like FaceTime or Zoom).
  • Using assistive technology, such as AIRA or Be My Eyes, to help you take the test and obtain results.

Need more assistance?

 The trained staff at the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) can provide additional assistance with:

  • Ordering tests. 
  • Understanding instructions for test administration and test results.
  • Providing alternative instructions for traditional at-home tests for people who are unable to access, read, or understand the manufacturer’s version.
  • For those who cannot use an at-home test, DIAL operators can:
    • Assist with ordering “swab and send” kits to collect a sample and mail it back for results.
    • Connect callers to local organizations for assistance locating other testing options in their community, including in-home testing programs or transportation or companion support to visit a community-based testing site.

Call 888-677-1199 Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern) or email [email protected].

Need more tests?

If you are covered by Medicare:

  • Medicare will pay for up to eight free over-the-counter COVID-19 tests per month, including tests that are more accessible. This includes people with Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Call ahead to make sure your local retailer has the tests you need in stock.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) with any questions.

If you have private insurance, your insurer may provide reimbursement for more accessible tests:

  • Call your plan to learn more about how they will reimburse you for the cost of tests.
  • Call ahead to make sure your local retailer has them in stock.

There is still time to Register! Nursing Facility Advocacy 101: Social Security Payees, Free Webinar 6/[email protected] 12 PM

The Coalition for Elder Justice in CT, the Office of the Probate Court Administrator, and the Elder Law Section of the CT Bar Association are sponsoring the next “Lunch & Learn” Webinar on 6/24 at 12 PM.

Attorney James Welch will provide an overview of Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT), the “Protection & Advocacy System for Persons with Disabilities” designated by the Governor, and detailed training on the Representative Payee Review Program administered by DRCT in accordance with the Special Protections for Beneficiaries of Social Security Act (SPBSSA) of 2018.

Click HERE to Register!

NASW CEC approval is pending. This Session has been approved for 1 CLE by the CT Bar Assoc.

CT Walk for WEAAD Team Hike 6/15/22, 5:30 PM Bluff Point State Park, everyone is Welcome!

Monday, June 13th- 5:30 PM, Bluff Point State Park, Groton

Help us raise awareness about Elder Abuse! This will be the final hike of our Walk for WEAAD event for 2022. Join us to wrap up the event by walking 3.6-mile loop trail that offers beautiful views of Long Island Sound! Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 1 h 20 min to complete. Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash. We will meet in the parking lot by the kiosk at the trailhead.

Optional post-hike trip to Dairy Queen to celebrate our success! 🙂

Click HERE for Trail information and directions. Hope to see you there!

Eastern CT State University and Willimantic Police Spearhead Police-Social Work Initiative

What started as a pilot internship last year with two Eastern Connecticut State University students has evolved into a statewide collaboration that may well serve as a national model for the emerging field of police social work. The Social Work and Law Enforcement (SWLE) Project, spearheaded by Eastern’s Social Work Program and the Willimantic Police Department, is currently training eight social work students from five universities to work with four police departments across Connecticut. 

Not only is it the first such project in the state, but Eastern professor and licensed clinical social worker Isabel Logan says it is likely the first specialized training program in the country that prepares social workers and police officers to work alongside each other. “Despite police social work being around for decades, this is still a very new area,” says Logan. “To date, there has been no specialized training in this field.”

Logan and Solak
Co-directors of the SWLE Project, Professor Isabel Logan and Lt. Matthew Solak. Photo by Bonnie Solivan 

Until recently, the two professions were often considered diametrically opposed, with social workers and police officers on opposite sides of the justice system. However, public outcry for police reform following high-profile accounts of police brutality — typified by the killing of George Floyd in May 2020 — has brought the unlikely partnership back into consideration. 

The interns are being trained to accompany officers on nonviolent calls pertaining to mental health, substance abuse, homelessness and other social issues. They also spend much time making follow-up calls and visits after crisis situations, checking on how people are coping and ensuring that they’re being connected to the necessary social services.

Connor Pollick 

“What we’re trying to do is head off the crisis stage and get them the services they need before a crisis happens,” said Willimantic Police Chief Paul Hussey. This is work that most police departments aren’t staffed to fulfill, and work that Logan says will lower rates of entry and recidivism into the justice system.

“I’m interested in this field of social work because this is such a rare time when law enforcement is so open and ready to change for the better,” said Connor Pollick, a senior social work major at Eastern who is interning with the Willimantic Police Department. “The recognition from the law enforcement side to ask for help is such a monumental and critical piece of this process. I truly believe this is the time for change and I believe in all the work we are doing with this project.”

Pollick admitted to being hesitant to join the police as an aspiring social worker, but a month into his internship he is pleasantly surprised. “I was not expecting every officer/person to be so open to a social worker coming into their police department,” he said, “but they have been to me and they truly see the purpose/ability a social worker has in a police setting.”Previous

Solak and Logan present Daniella Cervetta ’20 with a certificate after completing the PSW Intern Academy. Photo by Bonnie Solivan

Willimantic Police Chief Paul Hussey gives safety training at the PSW Intern Academy. Photo by Bonnie Solivan

Detective Michael Suplicki and K-9 Officer Jonathan John with Willimantic Police Chief Paul Hussey, Professor Isabel Logan and Lt. Matthew Solak. Photo by Bonnie Solivan

The SWLE Project kicked off this September with the first Police Social Work (PSW) Intern Academy. Organized by Logan and Lt. Matthew Solak of the Willimantic Police Department, the academy involved PSW interns, licensed clinical social workers, law enforcement officers and university professors who are working to formalize the practice of police social work in Connecticut.

Emily Constantino 

“This initiative could be the next generation of community policing,” said Leah Ralls, president of NAACP, Windham Branch. “It’s a model that lends itself to the humanistic side of policing. In other words, the interaction with the community is not always punitive driven.”

Highlights from the four-day academy included training sessions in safety and de-escalation, as well as roleplay scenarios and presentations by social work and law enforcement experts.

In addition to Eastern, the SWLE Project is training students from Southern Connecticut State University, the University of Saint Joseph (USJ), Sacred Heart University and Fordham University, who in turn are interning with police departments in Willimantic, Norwich, Stamford and Milford.

“There is a growing movement in Connecticut and around the country of police departments utilizing social workers,” said Steve Wanczyk-Karp, executive director of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), CT Chapter. “The (SWLE Project) is an important addition to this growing field by offering state of the art training on police social work.”

Emily Constantino ’21 was a part of the pilot internship in Willimantic last year. Now in the Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Saint Joseph, she is extending her internship with the Willimantic Police Department.

Francelis Gonzalez Perez

“This particular area of social work has grown into one of my biggest passions,” said Constantino. “If you had told me four years ago that social workers belonged in police departments, I wouldn’t have believed you. So many people associate social work with traditional settings like the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or schools, and people rarely consider how effective social workers can be when implemented into police departments.”

She continued, “By being a social worker in a police department, I’m able to see how mental illness, substance use, homelessness, poverty and criminal justice not only affect people on an individual level, but how they impact communities as a whole.”

The interns have found — and officers agree — that many 911 calls do not concern criminal activity, but are people simply reaching out for help.

“Sometimes people in the community want to talk to someone who is not a police officer and that’s when we step in,” said Eastern graduate Francelis Gonzalez Perez ’20, a MSW student at Fordham University who is interning with the Norwich Police Department. “The reason I’m interested in police social work is because I get to provide my services to those in need in the community. I like that I can go on ride-alongs and provide crisis interventions.”

Written by Michael Rouleau

Categories: Internships and Career DevelopmentCommunity EngagementSocial Work

Center for Medicare Advocacy: Comments On Mandatory Staffing Ratios for Nursing Facilities Due to CMS 6/10

Comments On Mandatory Staffing Ratios for Nursing Homes Due to CMS by June 10

As part of the annual proposed rule updating Medicare Part A payments to skilled nursing facilities, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) includes a Request for Information about mandatory staffing levels for nursing homes.[1] CMS asks 17 questions about staffing. Commenters may answer some or all of the questions or they may submit comments focused solely on their own experiences, concerns, and recommendations about nurse staffing levels. 

Recognizing the complexity of the 17 questions in the Request for Information, the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long Term Care hosted a webinar on May 25. Nursing home advocates from California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Justice in Aging, and the Long-Term Care Community Coalition joined Consumer Voice in drafting a set of comments and discussing these comments and staffing issues at the webinar.

The draft comments, which commenters are invited to use, if they like, to support their own comments, are available at Consumer Voice includes more information about submitting comments on its website, The Center for Medicare Advocacy will also share its comments in early June.

The Center contends that the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Law gives the Secretary full authority to set minimum staffing standards.[2] The Center also recognizes that staffing is a complex issue, requiring many actions in addition to mandatory staffing levels. Nevertheless, there can be no question that mandating staffing levels in nursing homes is one of the most important ways to improve staffing and make residents’ lives better. President Biden’s nursing home reform agenda[3] puts this decade’s long advocacy goal within reach. Anyone with experiences in nursing homes is encouraged to submit comments to CMS by the June 10 deadline.

To read the CMA Alert Newsletter click HERE