Tuesday, January 31, 2017

At-risk adults get aid

On Thursday a press conference was held to announce the need for Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services (MAGS), a Volunteer Guardianship Program serving Montgomery County’s at-risk elderly and other incapacitated adults.

“This program is available to assist any mentally incapacitated adult in Montgomery County regardless of income who is in need of a guardian to act on their behalf, and who has no family or friends to step in and offer assistance.” said the Honorable Heather Barajas of Montgomery Superior Court 1. Judge Barajas also added that since MAGS is a no-fee service the program can save Montgomery County taxpayers the cost of a competency assessment for an alleged mentally incapacitated individual, these assessments can cost the county upwards of $5,000 per individual involved.

Erica Costello of the Indiana Adult Guardianship Office explained how Indiana is one of the few states that do not have a state supported public system of providing adult guardianship services for the indigent. There is an increasing need in Indiana communities to expand adult guardianship services for vulnerable at-risk adults who have nowhere else to turn. In 2013, the Indiana General Assembly provided funding to establish the Adult Guardianship Office under the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration. The VASIA (Volunteer Advocates for Seniors or Incapacitated Adults) Fund was created. VASIA administers the grant funding to increase the number of volunteer-based guardianship programs throughout the state. In 2016 grant funding was awarded to Wabash Center, Inc. to provide a volunteer-based guardianship program for Montgomery County. Matching funds to support MAGS have been provided by Montgomery County and Wabash Center, Inc.

The MAGS (Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services) program is an innovative volunteer guardian initiative designed to address the critical health care, social service and legal representation needs of the growing population of the vulnerable, ill and at-risk incapacitated adults in Montgomery County by using trained volunteers to serve as court appointed Guardians.

The program recruits, trains and supports volunteers to serve as limited guardians appointed by Montgomery County Superior Court 1’s Honorable Heather Barajas. MAGS Volunteers undergo criminal history and social service background checks, personal interviews, provide references and complete a comprehensive training program that covers the National Guardianship Associations Adult Guardianship Standards, The National Guardianship Association’s Code of Ethics, decision making, communication skills, and other tools to provide volunteers with a strong advocacy skill set. They are sworn-in as officers of the Court, and as Montgomery Adult Guardianship Volunteers. Volunteers are supported by a professional staff member who is a Nationally Certified Guardian certified by the National Guardianship Association.

What do these volunteers do? MAGS Volunteers are guardians appointed for vulnerable at risk adults in need of protection who have no family or friends willing, able or suitable to take on this role in the protected person’s life. The Volunteer Guardian Advocate will typically spend 2-4 hours per week visiting with their assigned client, just checking in on their welfare, and needs. They are responsible for making decisions about the care of protected person for example; health care decisions or determining an appropriate place to live.

Wabash Center, Inc. applied for the VASIA Grant for Montgomery County so they can provide a pool of trained, Volunteer Guardian Advocates to draw from when area vulnerable at-risk adults have nowhere else to turn. “Without volunteers there is no MAGS, we can’t do the work we do without the volunteers, they are the very backbone of VASIA adult guardianship programs across the state of Indiana. MAGS Volunteer Guardians have the opportunity to make a real impact on the incapacitated person’s life; they have the opportunity to provide safety, security, stability and dignity to an individual who otherwise would not have any of these.” MAGS Program Coordinator Sharon White said on Thursday.

Volunteer applications are now being taken by Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services. Funding for this program is provided by the Indiana Supreme Court VASIA Fund, Wabash Center, and Montgomery County. Please contact Sharon White, MAGS Program Coordinator at 765-423-5531 ext. 423 for more information.

Full Article & Source:

At-risk adults get aid

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Volunteer monitoring is the way to go. The courts just aren't doing it and no one can make them.