demonstration activities in the field of aging. The Act has been amended 13 times since the original legislation was enacted.


Development of the State and Area Agency on Aging Structure: General Background

Since original passage of the Act in 1965, the Title III program has evolved from simply a funding source for social service programs to a planning vehicle for development of a comprehensive and coordinated service system for older persons with funding authority for abroad range of supportive services, and for congregate and home-delivered nutrition services. Significant amendments in 1969, 1973, and 1978 broadened the scope of operations and established the basis for a “network” on aging under the Title III program umbrella. Over the course of the various amendments to Title III, Congress has directed that state and area agencies on aging be the major focus for planning, coordination, and advocacy for programs and services on behalf of older persons.

The 1965 amendments authorized federal Title III grants to state agencies on aging to directly fund social service programs serving the elderly. State agencies acted as dispensers of federal funds rather than service planners. The 1967 amendments increased the funding allowable for statewide administration of the program. A major step was taken in 1969 when Congress revised the program to give state agencies responsibility and funding for statewide planning, coordination and evaluation of programs to serve the elderly and to foster state leadership toward achieving cooperation of all agencies and organizations concerned with their needs. Congress continued the authorization of funds for social service programs in these amendments, but also provided a distinct authorization of funds for state agency administration for the first time.

The 1973 amendments significantly restructured the Title III program in order to improve the planning and organization of services for older persons at the state and local levels. State agencies on aging were required to divide the state into geographic areas, or planning and service areas, and to establish area agencies on aging at the community level for the purpose of developing areawide social service delivery systems for older persons. These amendments emphasized the need for more effective planning and coordination of existing service programs on both the state and local levels, and continued the authorization of funds for the development of social services by area agencies.

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