ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino sounds frustrated and weary.
read the Journal’s five-part investigative series on problems within
the state’s elder guardian system and observed that of the cases cited,
there are “probably many, many dozens (more) that could explode at any
time in this state and it’s because we are faking it. We pretend like we
have a guardian system and there’s nothing in place.”
recalls several times over the past decade that he and his colleagues
have tried to propose legislative patches to the fraying system. They’ve
tried to appropriate money to study ways to strengthen the system, to
provide more oversight on how court appointees spend their elderly
ward’s money, to set rules on visitation for children of wards when
there is a dispute. Every time, Ortiz y Pino said, opponents of change
The senator put it bluntly: “Anytime we got into guardianship
issues the attorneys who deal with probate in the state went
The biggest problem with the system? “I think you
alluded to it in your articles,” he said. “It’s an honor system and
there’s nobody checking.”
The senator, a social worker by
occupation, believes the situation will get worse in the years ahead as
the baby boomer generation ages.
“The problem is nobody is in charge,” he said. “So, there’s nobody to
come before the Legislature to request a budget increase, nobody to say
we need to improve regulations governing this. There’s nobody to set
standards for the guardians (or) to hear complaints from the families.”
y Pino believes there should be state certification and licensing of
guardians and conservators but wonders where the money will come from.
Likewise, his idea to set up special elder courts to exclusively hear
guardianship and elder-issue cases would also need funding.
Because that money can only be approved by state lawmakers, the ball is in their court.
Full Article & Source:
Lawmaker: ‘We are faking it’
Who Guards the Guardians?