Thursday, November 03, 2011

How to create a Volunteer Guardianship Monitoring program

At the West Virginia Access to Justice Commission public forum held at the law school in Morgantown on November 1 several citizens spoke about problems with adult guardianship in West Virginia. The issues identified included lack of relevant disability training required (or even offered) for attorneys appointed to defend against guardianship, failure of judges to tailor guardianship orders to the specific needs and capacities of the individual protected person, lack of oversight to keep guardians and conservators from abusing their authority, and lack of adequate resources in Adult Protective Services and the Sheriff's offices who are the guardians and conservators of last resort.

The American Bar Association (ABA) has developed a model project that might address some of these concerns. "Guardianship monitoring helps courts to manage risks, prevent abuse, and increase public confidence in the judicial system. Using trained and supervised volunteers extends the monitoring capacity of the court."

Materials including a program coordinator's handbook, a trainer's handbook, and volunteer handbook, and a multitude of forms and recruitment materials are available for free download at www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/resources/guardianship_law_practice/court_volunteer_guardianshipmonitoring.html

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