Disability and Guardianship Project                               
                                                                                 


 

Focus and Mission

 
Focus

Adult guardianships and conservatorships involving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other adults with cognitive disabilities due to aging, illnesses or accidents
 

Mission

To promote access to justice for adults with cognitive and communication disabilities who are involved in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings and to promote viable alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship

 
Action Areas

Research, education, public policy, advocacy networking, access to justice, and public awareness
 

Supported Decision Making

To learn more about safe and legal supported decision-making arrangements as a possible alternative to guardianship, click here.


 

A Call for Reform
 

The Disability and Guardianship Project was created when investigations of a few individual conservatorship cases in Los Angeles led to audits of dozens of additional cases.  The audits showed systematic violations of the rights of adults with intellectual and developmental by the Los Angeles Superior Court and by the attorneys the court appoints to represent respondents.

Our focus then expanded to review conservatorship policies and practices throughout California.  This research confirmed statewide civil rights violations that are grounded in bad public policy as well as the failure of judges to follow applicable state and federal laws.  Judicial negligence and malfeasance is not being checked or monitored by the executive or legislative branches of government.  These ongoing violations of rights not only affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but impact the lives of thousands of seniors and adults with cognitive disabilities caused by illnesses or accidents.

We started receiving communications from people in other states, revealing that civil rights violations are occurring elsewhere.  We discovered that guardianship abuses are a major national problem.  More than 1.5 million Americans are living under an order of guardianship or conservatorship, with thousands more being added to these state systems each year.

In response to these calls for help, we have been conducting research, writing reports, publishing commentaries, and filing complaints with federal, state, and local agencies.  The links below provide more information about the need for reform.  Specific solutions have been proposed.
 

 
 
Complaints to DOJ
 

Capacity Assessment
Workgroup
Legal Publications
 
Project Updates

Complaints to States

ADA White Paper

Legal Commentaries

 


Snapshot of the Need for an Attorney
in a Guardianship Case

 


Arc Video About the Project



Thomas F. Coleman
Executive Director
Spectrum Institute
1717 E. Vista Chino A7 - PMB384
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(818) 230-5156

tomcoleman@spectruminstitute.org


 
 
Pursuit of Justice

A Documentary Film

by Greg Byers