Introduction to Conference

  Conference Chair: Florian Edwards, LMSW, Senior Director, Protective Services, JASA

   Florian Edwards is JASA’s Senior Director of Protective Services, which entails oversight of Adult Protective Services (APS), Elder Justice Prevention Services, and the Annual Elder Justice Training Institute. Florian has provided individual and group therapy in her professional work with victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, human trafficking, and modern-day slavery. She is a core member of the Enhanced Multi-Disciplinary Team (EMDT). She is passionate about fighting for social justice, especially for vulnerable and at-risk populations. 

Florian attended CUNY’s Herbert H. Lehman College where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2002, with honors. Florian attended Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service where she received her Master’s of Social Work in 2004. Florian remains an active member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Elder Justice Change Agent Award: Honoring

Deborah Holt-Knight    Deborah Holt-Knight, Deputy Commissioner,
    Adult Protective Services, HRA

    Deborah-Holt Knight is the Deputy Commissioner of NYC Adult Protective Services (APS).  Ms. Holt-Knight has been on the APS team for over   35  years, starting as a caseworker, assessing clients for eligibility, investigating allegations of abuse, interacting with law enforcement and   testifying in court hearings. She is now responsible for the citywide operations of APS.  In this capacity, she is developing policy and procedures,   providing training, exploring new program initiatives, and organizing community outreach. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a   Master of Science in Gerontology. She completed the Executive Education Program at Harvard Kennedy School. Ms. Knight is the recipient of the prestigious 2016 Sloan Public Service Award as well as the 2011 National Adult Protective Services Association’s President’s Award for outstanding service. She is a certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, training members of the public on a five-step action plan that is intended to assist persons who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis until professional treatment is obtained or the crisis is resolved. Serving and reducing risks to vulnerable adults is her passion.

Keynote Speakers

CEU: 1.5 credits / CLE 1.5 credits

   Keynote Panel Member: Katie Block, MSW, MPH

   Katie Block, MSW, MPH (she/they), is a social work, public health, and strategic communications professional with over 15 years of experience   working with nonprofits, social service, and government agencies to support their missions and service to their communities. Katie has provided  nationwide leadership, training,  and facilitation on racial and gender equity, and anti-violence specifically related to aging, elder justice,  domestic violence, sexual assault, and strategic mechanisms for increasing access to services for people who are systemically pushed   to the margins.  

   Previously serving as a training and technical assistance provider for the National  Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, they provided leadership and support for the US Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime National Resource  Center for Reaching Victims (NRC), where they were tasked with creating routes for community engagement, resource development, and capacity building for social service and community organizations that impact older victims of crime.  Katie is the author and co-author of multiple guides and toolkits focused on equity, including the Increasing Access to Healing Services and Just Outcomes for  Older African American Survivors of Crime in partnership with the NRC and VERA  Institute for Justice. Before this Katie led a victim services program at the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly where they worked to ensure equitable access to justice for older victims and developed programming and collaborations to increase access for underserved and inadequately served survivors.  

Before their work in anti-violence, they co-directed a social issues marketing and communications consultancy, MarketShift Inc. in which they provided marketing strategy, material development, and strategic planning support for Philadelphia area social service agencies. Katie holds a BA in Sociology for the University of  Rhode Island, an MSW, and an MPH from Temple University. Katie believes deeply in the principles of transformative justice and developing pathways for equitable access to support and meeting needs in ways that foster thriving across communities, particularly for those who are historically marginalized.


Christina Peoples    Keynote Panel Member: Christina Peoples, MSc, Founder, Gero

    Christina Peoples is a Gerontologist from High Point, North Carolina. She is the founder and creator of Gero-what?!®, an informative tool that aims to educate people about the aging process. Christina’s passion is working with Older Adults and she desires to educate people about the world of gerontology. Currently, Christina is a Health Promotion Coordinator at an Area Agency on Aging. Christina enjoys advocating for the rights of older adults and creating ways to enhance their well-being. Christina holds a Master of Science degree in Gerontology with a concentration in aging and business, which she obtained from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. However, her introduction to this field began at the Historically Black College/University, Winston-Salem State University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology.

Moderator: Florian Edwards, LMSW, Senior Director, Protective Services, JASA

Elder Justice Summit 2023 Agenda

  • 9:30 AM - 9:40 AM - Welcome/Acknowledgements/General Instructions

  • 9:40 AM - 9:50 AM - Change Agent Award

  • 9:50 AM - 11:05 AM - Keynote Address #1 - Christina Peoples

  • 11:05 AM - 11:10 AM - Break

  • 11:10 AM - 12:20 AM - Facilitated Breakout Rooms

  • 12:20 PM - 1:10 PM - Lunch

  • 1:10 PM to 2:20 PM - Facilitated Breakout Rooms

  • 2:20 PM - 3:05 PM - Large Group Debrief Session

  • 3:05 - 3:10 PM - Break

  • 3:10 PM - 4:25 PM - Keynote Address #2 - Katie Block

  • 4:25 PM - 4:30 PM - Closing Remarks/Acknowledgements

Topics for Breakout Rooms: