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August 16, 2021

Welcome to the first Rethinking Guardianship blog post – we’re excited to share what we’ve been working on! 

Rethinking Guardianship has just finished up the first year (July 1, 2020—June 30, 2021) of Rethinking Guardianship: Making Alternatives a Reality in North Carolina (MAR-NC), a three-year project (2020-2023) funded by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD).  

During the first year of the MAR-NC grant, we expanded the Steering Team and Statewide Workgroup to reflect more of the people who are invested in and directly impacted by this work. This included family members and individuals with I/DD; members of the Latinx community; and many key partners, including First in Families NC, The Arc of NC, and the NC Family Support Network, NC Department of Public Instruction, Disability Rights NC, Partnership to Address Adult Abuse, County Departments of Social Services, NC Guardianship Association, and the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities. 

Along with expanding our team, we are also so lucky to have engaged with a national consultant, Jonathan Martinis! Jonathan helped us to create an introductory video to supported decision-making and guardianship, called “Exploring Alternatives to Guardianship in North Carolina” (available on our homepage!). He’s also been invaluable in providing insight into all things supported decision-making.  

This was also a big year for the expansion of Rethinking Guardianship resources. In addition to the introductory video, we updated our brochure to include ABLE Accounts and a re-ordered list of options and alternatives. We also developed 12 complete educational guides for individuals, families, and professionals about alternatives to guardianship (you can find these on our website!). 

Our Statute Writing Team has also been hard at work this past year. They met 25 times! This team has been working to painstakingly review, rewrite, and edit major portions of the General Statute 35A so that it is consistent with the goals of Rethinking Guardianship and furthering the use of SDM practices throughout North Carolina. They’ll continue working and meeting with the North Carolina Bar Association’s Elder Law and Special Needs Section and Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section to prepare for the 2023 legislative session. 

Looking ahead, we’re focused on outreach. We established a new Outreach Planning Team that will be crucial in getting the word out there! They are focused on training and educating people across North Carolina about guardianship and alternative options and the resources that exist. 

Check back for more updates to come!