Probate Judge Robert G. Montgomery said in an email that he will work closely with the group to make sure that the county’s most-vulnerable residents are not exploited, abused or neglected by the people entrusted with their care.
He is referring to the thousands of county residents deemed by the court unable to care for themselves and who have court-appointed guardians.
A yearlong Dispatch investigation revealed that the patchwork system of rules for guardianship in Ohio is ripe for abuse, and that a lack of oversight has allowed some attorneys and family members to steal the dignity, money and freedom of those they promised to protect.
Montgomery, who has long known there were problems with the guardianship system in Ohio, set out more than a year ago to create the Franklin County Guardianship Service Board. The nonprofit board will be managed by three members appointed by him and by the board members of the county’s Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board and Board of Developmental Disabilities.
He announced local lawyer Larry H. James as his appointee to the board.
The ADAMH board appointed Jane Higgins Marx, another Columbus lawyer with a long history of work in probate and elder law.
The developmental disabilities board named William W. Wilkins as its appointee. Wilkins is a health-care consultant with a long history in state government.
In announcing the board’s charter members yesterday, Montgomery said that they will ensure the safety of county residents.
“I believe that this new board will elevate the level of service delivery to those citizens unable to protect themselves,” he said.
The board members will now hire an executive director to serve as guardian for the county’s hardest-to-serve residents, typically those with a mental illness who don’t live in a nursing home or other group setting.
The new agency is expected to hire social workers to serve the most-difficult people, while Montgomery’s vision is to deploy volunteers and interns to work with others and visit them to check on their welfare.
To create the board, Montgomery had to seek changes to Ohio law to allow social-services agencies and charities to donate to a fund to start and operate the agency.
To continue reading click here.
Full Article & Source:
Probate Court names 3 to oversee guardianships