For thousands of New Yorkers who find themselves unable to make critical life decisions, the state’s guardianship laws are designed to serve as a safety net of last resort to meet their needs.
Reformed in 1992, the state’s overhaul of the Mental Hygiene Law was an attempt to move away from its benign paternalistic approach to guardianship. In theory the law promotes a flexible system aimed at crafting tailored and limited solutions that meet a persons need for assistance , but in reality it has been plagued by a lack of resources, incomplete data and a shortage of guardians.
Jean Callahan, of the Legal Aid Society, joined Poozer Politics to talk about the evolution of the state’s guardian laws and explain the situation facing thousands of incapacitated New Yorkers today. The conversation also explored the need to promote alternatives to guardians and possible reforms to the system.