Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Befriending the needy in our community

In its “Summary of Public Policy Positions,” the League of Women Voters states the importance of providing essential support services for all. At the March Lunch With the League presentation, we learned about an extraordinary program right here in Montgomery County that clearly supports this goal. It is known as the Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services program and is an innovative volunteer limited guardian initiative designed to address the critical health care, social service and legal representation needs of the growing population of ill and at-risk incapacitated adults in the county.

The program recruits, trains and supervises volunteers to serve as limited guardians appointed by the Montgomery County Superior Court. MAGS volunteers undergo criminal history and social service background checks and personal interviews, provide references and complete an initial 30-hour training program. They are sworn-in by the court as officers and, as MAGS volunteers, serve as the guardian of the person.

MAGS is the first organized effort addressing the guardianship needs of this group of at-risk adults in the county. It is designed to safeguard the health care, social service and legal representation needs of this segment of our community by using trained volunteers to serve as court appointed limited guardians.

The role of the volunteer limited guardian is to investigate and assess the incapacitated person’s life situation, including locating relatives when possible, facilitate health care, social service and legal representation decision-making, plan for appropriate post-release placement and services and provides the court with recommendations for long-term planning for the individual.

These patients are people who frequently have been socially isolated much of their lives. They might include many frail elders in nursing homes and hospitals who often have multiple chronic conditions and are unable to make immediate decisions when problems becomes exacerbated or acute. They might also include those who never had capacity, including persons with mental retardation or developmental disabilities.

As a volunteer guardian/advocate, one is able to contribute significantly to their client’s needs under his or her court appointment as a limited guardian. Among other things, they are able to investigate and gather all requisite information regarding the health, welfare and financial circumstances of the incapacitated person. They can authorize the provision of health, social welfare and residential placement services as needed by the incapacitated person as well as advocate for the rights of the incapacitated person as a patient and facilitate legal representation when appropriate.

In order to qualify for help, one must be older than age of 18 and determined by a physician to be incapacitated and incapable of representing his/her own best interests or managing his/her own personal affairs. They can have no willing, able or suitable relative to serve as a guardian and are in need of the appointment of a limited guardian by the Montgomery County Superior Court.

The results of the volunteer’s work can literally be life-saving. The program’s significance is attested to by the fact that it is financially supported, in part, by the Indiana State Supreme Court. The training of volunteers is serious, as it should be. At the same time, the rewards of volunteer participation more than make up for the training schedule. It’s a rare opportunity to make a truly significant contribution to the lives of others who are truly alone and in need of help.

In order to get more information, contact Sharon White, program coordinator, Montgomery Adult Guardianship Services, 201 E. Jefferson St., Suite 202, Crawfordsville 47933. Phone 765-586-1396. You can also discover all Wabash Center has to offer by going to

Full Article & Source:
Befriending the needy in our community 

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