Supported decision-making vs. guardianship

In the last decade, and especially after the 2013 Virginia court case of Ross and Ross v. Hatch, there has been a dramatic increase in knowledge, use, and legal recognition of supported decision-making (SDM) in the United States. SDM is a methodology in which people work with trusted friends, family members, and professionals who help them understand their situations and choices so they may make their own decisions and direct their lives. After the Hatch case, in which a young woman with Down syndrome defeated a petition for permanent guardianship by demonstrating that she uses SDM, this methodology has increasingly been considered and used as an alternative to guardianship to enable people to retain their legal rights and make life choices to the maximum extent possible. This article reviews the guardianship laws of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Using criteria we developed, in light of the findings and values expressed in Hatch, we assessed the extent to which those laws recognize or encourage the use of SDM as an alternative to guardianship and as a means to enhance self-determination for people in guardianship. We then offer recommendations for future SDM research, policy, education, and advocacy efforts.

That is from a recent paper by Jonathan Martinis, et.al., via the excellent Kevin Lewis.  Guardianship is not the only alternative to “chaos,” now is the time to be truly Woke.

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