Guardianship Process to Be Streamlined in WA
Thursday, May 16, 2019
SEATTLE – Washington state lawmakers passed bills this session to make the guardianship application process easier for parents.
Sterling Harders, president of SEIU 775, says her union represents thousands of parents who take care of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
She says she’s heard from members that when their children turned 18 the path to guardianship was complex and expensive, often requiring a lawyer to understand the process. It also differs from county to county.
Harders says two pieces of legislation are addressing these issues, easing some of the burden for parents.
"Life is difficult enough for these folks having to take care of special needs kids,” she states. “They don't need one more thing to worry about, and so we are really hopeful that these two bills will make life just a little easier for parent providers."
The Uniform Guardianship Act, Senate Bill 5604, will standardize the guardianship process across the state's 39 counties and create a monitoring system and model training program.
The bill currently is on Gov. Jay Inslee's desk.
The other measure, House Bill 1329, creates alternatives to full legal guardianship. The bill was signed in April and goes into effect at the end of July.
Shannon Beigert, the mother of two children with very different needs, is the legal guardian for her daughter, who has an intellectual disability. Her son has autism, which manifests in challenging and oppositional behavior to her and her husband and has led to third-party guardianship of him.
Beigert says one-size-fits-all laws around guardianship don't work well for people as different as her two children.
"In today's world, you're either an incapacitated person or you're a person that is not incapacitated with full legal rights, and creating an opportunity for there to be some different options within that continuum, I think, is very important," she states.
Beigert says she appreciates Washington state lawmakers' capacity to help the state's most vulnerable.
get more stories like this via email
Programs intended to reduce the chances that someone will end up back behind bars are working, according to a new analysis of California state data…
Arizona is gearing up for its presidential preference election that takes place in less than a month, and registered Democrats and Republicans were …
You might say "every day is 'bring your child to college day'" at New Hampshire's Manchester Community College. On-campus childcare programs are …
By Elizabeth Ouzts for Energy News Network.Broadcast version by Shanteya Hudson for North Carolina News Service reporting for the Solutions Journalism…
The number of Black mothers in Ohio who die during or following pregnancy continues to climb and health advocates said they hope to shine a light on t…
It's been an uphill battle for childhood nutrition advocates to advance meal access policies in the South Dakota Legislature. However, organizers say …
A cooperative effort has seeded more than 26,000 acres in eastern Nevada. It's all in an effort to increase desirable grasses, forbs and shrubs while …
Texas postal customers, especially in rural areas, are experiencing delays in mail delivery, and some letter carriers feel it could get worse…