|Sen. Nancy Detert.|
By Barbara Peters Smith
State Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice, has started a second effort to reform Florida's adult guardianship system, and said Wednesday that this legislation will be her top priority for the 2016 session.
The new bill seeks to establish what she calls a "complaint department" for Floridians affected by the guardianship system — in a repeat of her original legislation that was stymied by political maneuvers over health care funding last spring. This time around, Detert said, she has worked with the Department of Elder Affairs to agree on an estimate of what the law would cost to implement.
Introducing her bill early in the legislative process should improve its chances, she said: "If it falls off the tracks, we have time to put it back."
The state's statute on guardianship gives judges power to remove an elder's civil rights and appoint a family or professional guardian to make all legal, financial and medical decisions for that person. Problems with this process were the basis of a Herald-Tribune series last December, "The Kindness of Strangers: Inside Florida's Elder Guardianship System." Through case studies, the series looked at wards and their families who felt trapped in a legal maze they did not understand.
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Detert renews bid to reform guardianship program