Ohio’s Adult Guardianship Rules Overhauled
Sweeping new policies and practices for Ohio’s adult guardianship cases will take effect June 1.
The Ohio Supreme Court today adopted Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio 66.01 - 66.09 that were recommended by its Advisory Committee on Children and Families.
“The result of countless hours of work from the committee members are rules that will align Ohio with standards set by the National Guardianship Association in adult guardianship cases and raise the level of professionalism among our guardians,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said. “We know this has been a long process, but we have never lost sight that the ultimate goal is to provide our probate courts with effective means to ensure the safety and well-being of people who need our protection.”
The rules were published in May 2014 for public comment, and, based on those comments, there are several revisions, including:
- Amending the definition for “guardian” to no longer exempt family members from the rules
- Requiring courts to maintain and monitor a roster of guardians with 10 or more wards under their care
- Requiring guardians to meet with the wards under their care at least quarterly.
“The rules are a welcome change, not only as standards for guardians, but also as expectations for court oversight. The guardianship rules direct guardians and courts to seek first the preferences of the individual, striving for balance, and I am grateful to the Supreme Court’s committee and to the justices for their diligence,” said Beverley Laubert, chief of the Ohio Department of Aging Elder Rights Division and State Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Certified Master Guardian Julia R. Nack, who is past president of the National Guardianship Association, served on the committee that drafted the rules.
“The Supreme Court Rules are a good step forward, as they move Ohio toward best practices in guardianship. While I would like to have seen training and visitation requirements that were as rigorous as the national standards envision, these new mandates are a very positive step,” Nack said. “There are many other positive changes that will bring consistency across Ohio in how the courts administer adult guardianships. It is important now for Ohio lawmakers to take up the issue of guardianship and provide the courts with the statutory and financial support they need to make these changes effective.”
Probate courts will be required to adopt local rules to address emergency guardianship procedures and establish a complaint process. Those who want to be guardians will be required to take a minimum of six hours of training, and three hours of continuing education annually. Guardians who fail to comply will be ineligible for new appointments. The Ohio Judicial College is developing educational opportunities for judges, magistrates, attorneys, and other stakeholders.
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