Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Who Guards the Guardians, Part Four

Last fall, Lubbock County court administrator Cryctal Spradley took another look at the county’s guardianships on her own. She took a sample of 300 cases and asked basic questions, including whether guardians were filing paperwork on time and whether they had posted a bond adequate to their ward’s estate. What she found “shocked the conscience,” she wrote. “Proper case management has been lacking among court and clerk staff,” she wrote, while guardians’ compliance with reporting rules was “abysmal.” One-third of the cases she examined should have been closed because the ward had died or regained capacity, or because they were misfiled. In half the cases, guardians didn’t file annual paperwork. The rate was the same whether the guardian was a family member or a court-appointed professional. In two-thirds of cases, the court — typically [Judge] Head — simply waived the requirement to post a bond on the estate. Such a failure, she notes, “can be, per statute, considered gross neglect.”
Lubbock County Judge Tom Head
Years after its wake-up call, Lubbock County is doing little to protect people it has stripped of their rights. Counties with far fewer guardianships have come up with some oversight. Lubbock’s court visitor program lasted about a year, until 2013. “We were just told that the county decided not to do it anymore,” says Baker, who volunteered as a visitor before starting her own guardianship practice. “That was the only explanation we got.”

Full Article and Source:
Who Guards the Guardians?


Betty said...

This is one of the best exposes I've seen on the problem. Thank you Texas Observer. Your hard work and heart shine brightly in this piece.

Jes said...

It looks to me like Judge Head should be called on the carpet.