Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Statewide Adult Guardianship Summit Helps Judicial Teams Enhance Programs and Procedures

With a goal to establish a collaborative action plan to safeguard the best interest of adult wards, teams of probate judges and their justice system partners from across Ohio attended a statewide summit today in Columbus to assess and enhance their adult guardianship court programs and procedures.

Put on by the Advisory Committee on Children and Families of the Ohio Supreme Court, the day-long guardianship summit allowed the teams to attend break-out sessions representing a cross-section of work associated with serving as a guardian and protecting adult wards.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor charged the five-member teams from nearly 50 counties to identify and describe innovations in Ohio’s Rules of Superintendence on guardianship to find best practices in serving vulnerable and incapacitated adults. They worked together and assessed local and state strengths and challenges, identified gaps, and developed a local plan for improvement.

In her welcome address, Chief Justice O’Connor told the attendees that the point of the summit was for local courts to establish a collaborative action plan.

“Always keep in the mind the ultimate goal of this initiative: Approaching guardianship services from a person-centered philosophy and raising the bar regarding the accountability of guardians toward their wards and the appointing courts,” she said.

Stark County Probate Court Judge Dixilene Park, also the Adult Guardianship subcommittee chair, said her court is heavily involved in trying to better protect adult wards and wanted to share ideas with the summit attendees.

“The summit on guardianship provides county interdisciplinary-teams an interactive opportunity to learn about best practices used throughout the state and how to implement them in their respective counties,” Judge Park said. “For instance, Stark County’s Guardian Visitor program, a volunteer monitoring program for the court’s wards, can be implemented and started at relatively low cost and greatly benefits the well-being of the wards.”

Supreme Court staff envisioned the summit as a way to highlight effective practices taking place in Ohio and nationally in regard to adult guardianships, and to find better ways to protect adult wards. The county teams were encouraged to meet and broaden their collaborations in the weeks and months after the summit.