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Title:An Analysis of Factors Affecting Guardianship Practices in Relation to Young Adults With Disabilities
Author(s):Millar, Dorothy Squatrito
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Renzaglia, Adelle
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Abstract:Self-determination, autonomy, and independence: These are the tenets upon which our nation's constitution is based. It has been estimated that approximately 1,250,000 adults are denied the right to make personal decisions over aspects of their own person or property as a result of guardianship imposition. Throughout the past 20 years, advocates for persons with disabilities and the elderly have called for improved procedural protection of persons from unnecessary restrictions of their rights. This study sought to answer the following questions: (a) What are the characteristics and background of the adults affected by guardianship (including the petitioner, alleged ward, and guardian)? (b) What are the specific situations of the individual with a developmental disability which lead the petitioner to file for guardianship? and (c) What is the scope of the guardianship? Two hundred and twenty-one court files were reviewed, although not every file contained all of the information sought, answers to the questions were obtained. Overall, 120 plenary guardians and 101 partial guardians were appointed. Individuals with mild mental retardation were more likely to have a partial guardian appointed, whereas those with severe or profound mental retardation and autism were more likely to have a plenary guardian appointed. Distinctions between the powers of plenary and partial guardians, however, were often found to be minimal. In addition, it was found that in three jurisdictions, attorneys were inappropriately acting as guardian ad litems, hence over 30 wards did not receive adequate counsel. The intent of the Mental Health Code amendments is to support the wards by helping them further develop their skills in order to become as self-sufficient as possible. However, as found in the annual reports, the majority of the wards' conditions had virtually remained the same following guardian appointment. Guardianship for young adults with disabilities remains a complex issue with many significant questions in need of answer. Hopefully, this study has contributed a small part to the understanding of guardianship and will serve as a seed for continued exploration of this area.
Issue Date:2000
Description:200 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2000.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9971138
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2000

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