United States Senate Holds Conservatorship Reform Hearing

The Subcommittee on the Constitution of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today titled “Toxic Conservatorships: The Need for Reform.”  In his opening remarks, Senator Richard Blumenthal essentially referred to a “carrot and stick” federal approach to reform.  He called on the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the states with “best practices” guidance that would address three issues: a serious exploration in each case of less restrictive alternatives such as supported decision-making; improving civil rights protections; and better mechanisms to monitor ongoing conservatorships to reduce the risk of abuse.  He also suggested that the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ should focus attention on disability rights violations occurring in conservatorship and guardianship proceedings.  To view this hearing, click here.  For a copy of Spectrum Institute’s proposals to the chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, click here.  For a copy of our letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein who sits on the subcommittee, click here.  Some of our recommendations were mirrored by Senator Blumenthal’s remarks.  Senator Blumenthal (photo) chairs the subcommittee.