The Center for Elders and the Courts (CEC), a part of the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), serves as the primary resource for the judiciary and court management on issues related to aging. Our center strives to increase judicial awareness of issues related to aging, provide training tools and resources to improve court responses to elder abuse and adult guardianships, and develop a collaborative community of judges, court staff and aging experts.

The History behind the Center for Elders and the Courts

In 2006, NCSC hosted the Elder Abuse and the Courts Working Group (EACWG), which included 28 leading elder abuse experts from a variety of disciplines.

The meeting's goal was “to gather national experts to strategize on effective strategies courts can take to improve the identification of and response to elder abuse and neglect.”  Three products were developed from the meeting: (1) a white paper titled State Courts and Elder Abuse: Ensuring Justice for Older Americans; (2) a Benchcard for Judges in handling abuse or neglect cases; and (3) the Center for Elders and the Courts resource center.

Concurrently, the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) and the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) began addressing elder issues and both groups endorsed the white paper.  In May 2008, members of CCJ met in Philadelphia for a Pew symposium on leadership, which had a primary focus on elder issues. Following the symposium, the CCJ/COSCA Joint Task Force on Elders and the Courts was created.

In 2008, the Center for Elders and the Courts was established. Since that time, the CEC has continued to introduce curriculum, draft issue papers and conduct evaluations of programs and practices to better understand guardianship and conservatorship issues.

We thank the organizations and agencies that have supported our efforts through the years.

  • The Archstone Foundation
  • The Retirement Research Foundation of Chicago
  • The Bureau of Justice Assistance
  • The State Justice Institute
  • The CCJ/COSCA Joint Committee on Elders and the Courts