Public Comments for: HB424 - Guardianship; duties of guardian, visitation requirements.
Last Name: Snider Organization: AARP Virginia Locality: Richmond

AARP Virginia supports legislation that improves the rights of the individual under guardianship and ensures due process of those rights. As such we are in support of House Bills 424 (Herring), 623 (Hudson), 634 & 643 (Roem).

Last Name: Powell Organization: Former President of CVTC Families and Friends Locality: Richmond

Comments by Jane Powell, former President of Central Virginia Training Center Families and Friends: I am a legal guardian for my sister, a former resident of CVTC. Family guardians of current and former Training Center residents, and presumably other family guardians, would be unduly burdened by the following guardianship bills and are furthermore not qualified to meet all of the requirements of the bills: HB424, HB634 and HB643. These bills set laudable goals, yet codifying these goals would cause negative consequences for family guardians, many of whom are in their 70s or older. • Many of the former residents of CVTC and SWVTC in particular sought legal guardianship of their training center loved ones prior to closure of those facilities, and those who are distant from their loved one’s new placement would be unduly and unnecessarily burdened by quarterly in-person visits when their loved one is in a stable and desirable placement. For example, one guardian lives in Florida and has arranged for his capable and fully engaged son to check in on his SEVTC relative on a frequent basis. The guardian does see his disabled son several times a year, but legally requiring strictly scheduled quarterly in-person visits would impose a completely unnecessary burden and expense. Other family guardians of former training center residents would face similar difficulties. • Family guardians lack the professional qualifications to “observe and assess” some of the provisions of HB424 and HB634, such as how an individual’s mental and physical health care needs are being met. Few visits occur during educational or vocational programs when such observational visits would be disruptive, and likewise there is often no way for families to “observe” progress made toward expressed goals. Family guardians rely on the professionals who care for their loved ones to inform them of the status of these things. • Most training center residents and former training center residents lack funds to pay a professional substitute to make visits on their guardian’s behalf, as proposed in HB634. • Many family guardians lack the technological savvy and/or equipment to meet some of the virtual meeting alternatives proposed in these bills. • Routine court review hearings are unnecessary for severely developmentally disabled persons whose conditions will never improve to the point that they will no longer need a guardian. Going through a court proceeding every three years imposes unnecessary expense and hardship on the families of such individuals. HB424, HB634 and HB643 would have a chilling effect on family guardianship, when families by their nature have the purest guardianship motives and thus should be encouraged. If applied only to paid professional guardians, the bills might make sense, but not when they are universally applied to all legal guardians. Even so, most of the bills’ provisions would be better as opt-in measures when circumstances warrant such measures rather than universal requirements for all legal guardians.

Last Name: Beadnell Organization: The Arc of Northern Virginia Locality: Falls Church

The Arc of Northern Virginia supports the guardianship reform bills presented by Delegates Herring, Roem, and Glass. These bills all increase transparency around guardianship and better protect the person under guardianship. We get calls from individuals who are unsatisfied with their guardian's choices to deny visits from loved ones, lack of communication/visits, and with concerns about the guardian's actions. These bills provide protection for vulnerable individual's who rely on a robust guardianship oversight system to stay safe and protect their rights.

End of Comments