Has Pennsylvania made any progress with guardianship reform?

| Jan 22, 2021 | Guardianships | 0 comments

When Pennsylvania first acknowledged problems within its guardianship system, there was guarded optimism that timely changes would be made. Reform was long overdue and better protections for our vulnerable loved ones were necessary.

So, how much progress has the state made with reforming the guardianship system? Unfortunately, not much. In fact, PBS reported that the state feels stuck in its reform efforts. 

When did reform talks begin?

Almost six years have passed since Pennsylvania first acknowledged it needed to make changes. The state identified problems that permeated deep into its existing systems and vowed to fix them. Issues stemmed primarily from how guardians are appointed and supervised for your loved ones. 

What has the state achieved?

So far, the state’s Supreme Court succeeded in creating an office to oversee the overhaul. The office received the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of more than 100 recommendations from experts. To date, more than half of these recommendations have successfully passed into reality. 

What is the issue?

Numbers like these may make it appear the state has done well with addressing issues. However, other experts in the field point to a lack of support for the infrastructure of the overhaul. For example, provisions for adequate funding did not accompany all recommendations. 

So, what does this mean for your loved one? With state efforts focused on more immediate problems throughout 2020 and into 2021, it may take some time before it addresses new problems created by its haphazardly implemented solutions. Hope remains, however, that important reforms to our guardianship system will be made sooner rather than later.

FindLaw Network

Carol Sikov Gross is a member
of the National Academy of
Elder Law Attorneys

NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.

ACTEC | The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
PA | ELA Pennsylvania Association of Elderly Law Attorneys | Member
Pennsylvania Bar Association Your Other Partner
Allegheny County Bar Association | Raising the bar on legal and Community Service