Becoming a "professional" guardian and/or conservator in Oregon does not require any type of certification and/or licensure. The Guardian/Conservator Association of Oregon (GCA) website reports that certification in becoming a “Professional” Guardian and/or Fiduciary is on a voluntary basis. The GCA website also reports that to be a Conservator and/or Guardian they must have backgrounds free of any criminal/personal/fiscal issues, or other issues that would give the court reason to question their “ability or ethics”. In a perfect world that may be OK, however, if certification is not necessary, who provides oversight to a board that has the power to make life/death decisions as well as gain complete control over the assets of another? Reviewing the complaint process available on the website for the National Certified Guardian it reports that the court that appointed the guardian has the exclusive authority to remove, or otherwise sanction a guardian.
This growing problem was investigated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) in July 2011. The outcome of the investigation included noting hundreds of allegations of guardian abuse in 45 states occurring between 1990 and 2010. “The GAO investigation reported “significant exploitation of assets” as well as “guardians are not sufficiently screened or monitored by the court; and additionally that selected guardian certification programs failed to adequately screen potential certified guardians” (GAO 2011). It appears that Oregon can be a frightening place for our aging population.
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Who is Watching Our Elderly?