Last week, Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer of the Summit County Probate Court announced the formation of a volunteer legal guardian program to bolster the ranks of attorneys representing the growing number of the elderly in the Akron area.
The initiative, a collaboration with the County Executive’s Office, the Department of Public Health, the ADM Board and the Summit DD Board, chose Jewish Family Services to train citizens to represent those under the guardianship of the probate court.
“The sheer volume of wards appointed to each guardian often allows for only one visit per year. The attorneys are already working for free as guardians, so you can’t expect them to go out and visit the wards more often,” Judge Stormer told the Legal News in September.
Court staff cited the aging Baby Boomer generation for the rise of indigent guardianships – over 2200 currently in Summit County. Last year, the Scripps Gerontology Center projected Ohio’s 60-plus population to increase by 30% by 2020.
“The JFS Volunteer Guardian Program volunteers will make a real difference to someone facing the most challenging time of their life,” Judge Stormer said. “Our court works every day to protect those who cannot care for themselves.”
The probate court will provide a significant portion of the funding to the program along with training and oversight.
The court chose Jewish Family Services as its provider because of its compatible mission, senior services and existing fiduciary relationship with the county, according the staff.
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Probate Court Launches Volunteer Guardian Program