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University-Community Projects in Aging

Rutgers School of Social Work partners with community organizations and government agencies to improve the well-being of older adults and their caregivers. Below are examples of past and ongoing work that has developed out of university-community partnerships.


Adult Protective Services Training Grant 

Since 1991, the Rutgers School of Social Work's Institute for Families has been the only provider of statewide training for Adult Protective Services workers. The Institute provides a sixteen-day training program for new workers. The program was recognized for its innovation and excellence when it received the 1993 Brookdale Best Practices in Training Award. In addition, advanced practice workshops are offered to experienced APS workers, and an Annual Executive Forum brings together APS Executives, Supervisors, and Senior APS workers. Since 1991, over 1,400 APS workers have been trained through the Rutgers School of Social Work.

For more information on the APS Services Training Grant, please click here.


Evaluating Substance Abuse Treatment among Older Adults 

The Institute for Families (IFF) is assessing the progress of senior citizens who participate in the Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE) substance abuse prevention program. Through both quantitative and focus group evaluation, IFF is documenting changes in knowledge, attitudes, and self efficacy of the WISE program participants.  Funded through the New Jersey Prevention Network, WISE evaluation activities have found significant differences between those who participated in WISE and a control group that did not participate in the program. Specifically, the evaluation determined that participants had an enhanced knowledge of medication and the effects of alcohol, felt empowered by the program, increased their understanding of health and wellness, and changed their lives in a positive way. Overall, the participants enjoyed the program and the information it provided.

For more information on the Institute for Families WISE program, please click here.


Exploring Naturally Occurring Retirement Community Supportive Services Programs (NORC-SSPS) in New Jersey 

NORC-SSPs are community-based initiatives that aim to create more comprehensive supportive service systems that help older adults remain within their own homes, even when faced with aging-related challenges. NORC-SSPs address a range of services, including healthcare, social services, lifelong learning, health promotion, and opportunities for civic engagement. In New Jersey, more than 10 Jewish communal service agencies have partnered with other agencies to implement NORC-SSPs. The Rutgers School of Social Work is working collaboratively with the state's Jewish communal agencies to examine how this program model has been implemented in New Jersey. The primary purpose of the project is to understand how NORC-SSPs in New Jersey have addressed common, as well as distinct, needs across diverse communities. For more information, please contact Dr. Emily Greenfield (Principal Investigator) at A copy of a report from this project is available here.

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