Skip to main content

Rethinking Guardianship is a statewide, collaborative initiative funded by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities and facilitated by UNC Cares at the School of Social Work at Chapel Hill. Our coalition consists of a diverse group of people committed to improving life for people who are experiencing guardianship or who could benefit from less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. We are self-advocates and their family members, policymakers, legislators, university faculty, and staff from nonprofits, businesses, and associations.

The logo for the Rethinking Guardianship Website


Rethinking Guardianship Statewide Workgroup

The foundation of the initiative is the establishment of a statewide, long-term workgroup representing a range of guardianship stakeholders. The Rethinking Guardianship Workgroup is comprised of public and private guardianship providers, attorneys, Clerks of Court, aging disability advocates, academics, policymakers, family members, and individuals with lived experience of guardianship.


UNC Cares

UNC Cares serves as the backbone entity supporting the Rethinking Guardianship initiative.

UNC Cares was established in 1987 by Gary M. Nelson, DSW as the Center for Aging Research and Educational Services at the UNC School of Social Work to improve the lives of aging and vulnerable adults and their families in North Carolina.

Today, UNC Cares provides education, community engagement, and policy analysis across the state in order to empower vulnerable adults and their families to experience choice and dignity in their lives.

As an organization and individually, we believe that to the greatest extent possible people have the right to govern their own lives and make choices about how to live and to have those choices honored whether or not they can communicate them in conventional ways.

We do this by involving individuals with lived experience and their families in partnership with other stakeholders. Together, we utilize Collective Impact as a framework for long-term, positive social change.

For information:


NC Council on Developmental Disabilities

The NC Council on Developmental Disabilities is dedicated to empowering people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) by supporting self-advocacy, independence, and the right to self-determination. The Council promotes inclusive and welcoming communities so people with I/DD have options to make choices about work, where to live, friendships, taking part in the various activities of their community, and other personally defined outcomes.

For more information, go to our website at

NC Division of Aging and Adult Services

The Division of Aging and Adult Services works to promote the independence and enhance the dignity of North Carolina’s older adults, persons with disabilities, and their families through a community-based system of opportunities, services, benefits, and protections.

For more information:



NC Division of Social Services

The Division of Social Services provides guidance and technical assistance to agencies that provide direct services that address issues of poverty, family violence and exploitation. The Division promotes self-reliance and self-sufficiency, and works to prevent abuse, neglect, dependency, and exploitation of vulnerable individuals, children and their families.

For more information: