Compared with policy related to child abuse, older adult protection policy developed later and made slower progress in the United States of America. Few studies have addressed older adult protection policy. This paper compares the two policies and provides implications about how to improve older adult protection policy by emulating child protection policy. The Dimensions of Choice Framework was utilised to illuminate the differences between child protection and older adult protection policies (i.e. allocation, provisions, delivery and finance), while Advocacy Coalition Framework theory was used to explain why these differences exist (i.e. the contentions between ally and opposite coalitions). The Dimensions of Choice Framework refined the descriptive comparison of the two policies while the Advocacy Coalition Framework unfolded the efforts and struggles between advocacy coalitions that result in policy changes; and the conceptual combination further provides a cross-disciplinary link between social work and public policy studies. Findings indicated that, compared to child protection policy, older adult protection policy lacked federal legislative and administrative direction, well-developed diagnosis and evaluation tools, a national data system, sufficient federal funds and a comprehensive response mechanism. This was the case because older adult protection advocates presented a more controversial argument regarding the role of government intervention in protecting victims while respecting individual autonomy, lower public and government awareness, and weaker efforts from ally coalitions.