Court-appointed guardians across Ohio will all have to follow the same set of basic requirements starting June 1 as they manage the affairs of Ohioans who are deemed unable to care for themselves — children, the elderly and people with mental disabilities.
The new rules require training, monitoring and background checks and say that guardians must meet with their wards at least every three months.
A court-appointed committee had studied the issue for more than eight years before releasing a draft set of rules for guardians last spring — just as The Dispatch published an investigation in May that revealed how the state’s patchwork quilt of local rules has failed Ohioans.
available online at Dispatch.com/unguarded, found widespread problems with the way some guardians were managing the care of their wards, including instances of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
The court pulled back the draft after receiving more than 100 pages of comments, prompted in part by the Dispatch series.
The committee work started in 2007 after national news stories raised an alarm about the lack of oversight in guardianship cases. While Ohio was one of the first states to form a committee to study the issue, much of the rest of the country raced ahead with comprehensive state standards.
Julia Nack is one of the state’s few certified master guardians and the director of the volunteer guardianship program at the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging. She both commented on the draft rules and was part of the committee tasked with redrafting the rules based on that feedback.
Ohio Supreme Court: New Guardianship Rules Start June 1