Guardianship

GUARDIANSHIP: INCREASE ALTERNATIVES TO FULL GUARDIANSHIPS

DRI will focus on the following areas:

Reducing the number of Iowans with unnecessary or overly restrictive substitute decision makers.

Why is this important: People with disabilities are at disproportionate risk of having their right to make their own decisions and control their own lives stripped by courts or family members who believe their disability makes them incapable of doing so, or exposes them to risk of harm or exploitation. Though guardianships are intended to be limited and imposed only as a last resort, less restrictive alternatives and the legal obligations of guardians, their attorneys, and courts, are too often overlooked in practice.

Possible activities to accomplish goals:

  • Outreach to schools, providers and families to educate families of children with disabilities turning age 18 about alternatives to guardianship and supported decision-making options ;
  • Attend the Supreme Court’s Guardianship Reform Task Force meetings and offer suggestions that support less restrictive alternatives to guardianship/conservatorship;
  • Advocate for supported decision making.
  • Provide legal representation to individuals to assist with terminating or resisting establishment of unnecessary or abusive guardianships/conservatorships or other substitute decision makers (i.e. representative payees).
  • Create an Alternatives to Guardianship page on DRI’s website with forms and guidance for self-representation and self-advocacy.
  • Develop resources for adults under guardianship who want to self-advocate for less restrictive alternatives.
  • Design and provide a basic guardianship training for attorneys who represent wards or prospective wards, and provide ongoing technical assistance.