Guardianship & the Alternatives
As caregivers, we want the best for our youth as they transition to adulthood. It can be challenging and emotional to know what is the best course of action with regard to helping our young adults make decisions. Some of our youth will be able to make most life decisions with a little support, while others may be more successful with a Supported Decision-Making model. However, for some, the protections associated with limited or full guardianship may be the best fit.
As a caregiver, what should I consider? You may want to ask yourself questions such as: Can my youth make decisions on their own? Can they navigate their own healthcare? Can they manage their own finances, housing, education, etc? Can they understand and sign a contract? If the answer is yes or yes with support, then Supported Decision-Making, Power of Attorney, or another form of support may be the best option. If the answer is no, full or limited guardianship in select areas where support is needed might be the best choice. Caregivers should talk about options with their young adult. Teachers, professionals, and physicians can also be consulted for input if caregivers are unsure of what course of action to take. Ultimately, the goal should be for the young adult to have opportunities for independence and to live as much of a self-directed life as possible.
Alternatives to guardianship:
Alternatives to guardianship can be found in the Choices Books mentioned above or in this training module. In the module, we’ll cover Conservatorship, Power of Attorney, Educational Advocate, Advance Health Care Directive, and Utah’s Mental Health Directive.
What is guardianship?
If an individual is unable to make their own decisions and care for themselves independently, they can be deemed incapacitated by a judge and have a guardian appointed. To better understand the guardianship process, refer to our Guardianship Resources:
If you have questions or need resources, please contact the Utah Parent Center and a Transition Parent Consultant would be happy to help you.