Pilot Projects

The Catawba Pilot

The Catawba County Pilot, Rethinking Guardianship: Options for Independence, was developed in 2016 in collaboration with the statewide initiative and is led by the Catawba County Adult Collaborative.

The core team is comprised of the Catawba County Department of Social Services, Partners Behavioral Health Management, the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, and Sipe’s Orchard Home. Based on the input of stakeholders, this group is focusing on three areas, (1) transitioning to adulthood, (2) supported/surrogate decision making, and (3) community education and awareness. Here are the actions taken:

  1. Transitioning to Adulthood
    • focused on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) who are turning age 18 (including youth aging out of foster care)
    • developed a training module for schools to use in educating school staff/parents/families and children/teens on options for independence
    • involved the three public school systems in Catawba County to develop the training
  2. Supported Decision Making
    • increased knowledge and availability of alternatives to guardianship and supported decision making in the community
    • created a volunteer and training process that would help create a “support team” for potential persons needing assistance in decision making (in lieu of guardianship or as an added support)
    • partnered with a provider with the expertise to help achieve this goal
  3. Community Education and Awareness
    • developed education/training for attorneys, Clerks of Court, and court employees on alternatives to guardianship (including limited guardianships)
    • developed material to share with petitioners about alternatives

Catawba County’s recommendations to other counties:

  • You don’t need more money or resources to make an impact
  • Meet with your Clerk of Court to discuss the process
  • Identify what collective impact issues you have in your communities
  • Read “Rethinking Guardianship: Building a Case for Less Restrictive Alternatives” reports published by the UNC Jordan Institute in 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Create a process for youth aging out of foster care
  • Assess your current process for annual reviews and restorations
  • Evaluate where you can use Supported Decision-Making