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Proposal aims to help people navigate complex guardianship systems

State money could help Minnesotans with cognitive, psychiatric or intellectual disabilities who are facing guardianship or conservatorship make sometimes difficult decisions and find a balance between safety and self-determination. 

“Guardianship is complex system that isn’t right for every person, but often it is the default,” said Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview). “That is why I’m happy to carry this bill and support the work of Volunteers of America in helping people navigate the system and utilize supported decision-making where appropriate.”

HF2840 would provide $600,000 in each year of the current biennium to the Volunteers for America Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making.

It was laid over Tuesday by the House Human Services Finance and Policy Committee for possible omnibus bill inclusion. The companion, SF2990, sponsored by Sen. Karin Housley (R-Stillwater), awaits action by the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee.

Among the people served by the center is a woman with dementia, who stayed in her home longer with help getting her furnace fixed. She later received support going into assisted care.

Changes to the guardianship in a 2020 law enhanced the bill of rights for people facing guardianship, added requirements for guardians to notify families of decisions, defined supported decision-making and added requirements for options short of guardianship, said Anita Raymond, program director for the Centers in Supported Decision Making.

“In Minnesota, the spectrum of decision-making options is wide, but also potentially confusing and stressful,” Raymond said.

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