Extended guardianship

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pepperidge, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    HI--the thread on emancipation got me wondering about the opposite.

    What if you have a difficult child who you don't think will be ready to handle money, make sensible decisions about future (like continue to get IEP services to the age of 21) etc. I understood from a parent of a difficult child that there is some action that one can take to maintain some sort of guardianship. Does anyone know anything about this?

    Seriously worried about difficult child#2 ability to live an independent life, but he is not so compromised that he won't want to try or needs sheltered living say for Down's syndome kids. Are there really services out there post 18 for our difficult children?

  2. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is something that I believe you must file through the courts for - some areas call it guardianship, others extended guardianship, I think. An attorney would be your best bet to help with this. In the next year or so your older difficult child should start working with Transitional Services or have a transition plan through his school. This is to help make sure he has the tools he will need to function as an adult. The school counsellor might be able to help with this, or social services.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yes, check with an attorney. I know it exists here because my bi-polar (and who knows what else) neighbor is not allowed to have her disability money sent to her, it goes to her mom, who doles it out on an as-need basis for her rent and pays certain bills of her from it.
  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    It depends on the state & the level of disability ~ really. I was advised to terminate my parental rights to wm (with-o cause) to assure him services upon the age of 18. That has been dismissed as the state & county are no longer accepting TPR with-o cause as an assurance to services.

    I have informed the state that I would not become kt or wm's legal guardians at the age of 18. If the state determined kt & wm needed that level of service they would need to become wards of the state. It's all very iffy at this moment.

    Saying all the above, given the IEP's the tweedles have in place insures school thru the age of 21 (unless they quit). After that if, especially wm, continues with the services he has in place there is a 90% chance they continue upon adulthood.
  5. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Services after 18 - depends on where you live, what difficult child will need, and what he will accept. My difficult child could have had case management, therapy, housing assistance etc., but he alienated the local MH agency pretty fast so that all went by the wayside. He had absolutely no interest in seeking out services, insisted he didn't need them. We decided against guardianship at 18 for him - many reasons, but bottom line is that no form of guardianship would have allowed us to force him into treatment and/or safe living conditions, nor could we have forced the issue of continuing school until he graduated. We could have sought financial guardianship of him... but I need thank you calling me daily for his cigarette allowance like I need a hole in my head, LOL. Since he messed up with- the local MH agency, he now has a representative payee for his SSI through a for-profit agency.

    With our oldest, we sought guardianship of him when he hit 18. It was a simple process - went to local courthouse, filled out a request for a hearing, took a form to his doctor to fill out to verify that he has a disability and that he is unable to communicate his decisions and is unable to manage his financial affairs. Showed up in court, waited for hours, wheeled Boo up to the judge with- form from dr., and we were given "plenary" guardianship of his "estate and person", meaning we are his guardian now that he is an adult just like we were when he was a minor.

    It was simple with Boo, but his disability is profound and obvious, and he didn't fight us. I think we probably would have been able to get guardianship of thank you based on his very long and well-documented history of mental illness, but in real world terms, it would not have allowed us to do much to protect him from his choices. It would have allowed us to communicate with hospital staff, doctors, etc., would have allowed us to manage his finances, but that would have been about it. It was one of the harder choices we've had to make, not seeking guardianship of him.
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Extended guardianship can be a double edge sword as Slsh said. You have certain rights but are still limited for others. And, depending on where you live, if you are a guardian, you can still be held liable for the actions of the person for whom you are guardian. husband and I talked about it for our difficult child and decided against it. I am, however, his payee representative for his SSI. Not that it matters right now as he's in jail but still.
  7. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. The liability is a big consideration. Perhaps if he had an underlying medical condition (other than mental illness, LOL) that they would not treat appropriately that would be one consideration.

    I think that once a child reaches 18 they can refuse to have parents attend an IEP and refuse services that they might be eligible up to the age 21 or until they graduate.

    I am kind of seeing the ages of about 16-25 as the nightmare years in terms of trying to keep my kids safe and out of trouble while waiting for their brains to mature, hopefully.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was somewhat lucky with Cory until his frienemies informed him he was a so-called adult. Even though Cory turned 18, he still thought I was his guardian because he lived with me and I was his payee on his disability check. I am still his payee. He became his own payee for well over a year but something happened and I became it again...sigh. I really want off it again. He is well able to do it himself and I need the stress like I need 5 more kids.

    I couldnt force Cory to do anything with a court order that I couldnt force him to do without a court order. He was always perfectly willing to let me in to any doctor appts, court appts, etc. In fact, he wants me there. It irritates him that I cant do all those things for him so in his case, I think being his guardian would keep him too tied to me. He needs to be forced to do things he can do instead of just what he wants to do.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In some areas they can keep you out of IEPs and psychiatric decisions far younger than age 18. here they can attend IEPs at age 14 and cannot override a parental decision until after age 18 and graduation of high school if they turn 18 during their senior year. Even if you are 18 you can't call yourself in sick, write a note to get out of something, etc.... unless you have attended 4 years of high school and are not living with or financially supported by your parents. It can become a problem for foster kids who are often kicked out at age 18, so our foster services can extend until graduation for those who are in high school with passing grades (not Fs).

    While ages 16-25 are potentially really bad, your difficult child is still 12. You said you were thinking about this for the younger one, right? At age 12 we were pretty sure that Wiz was going to end up in a psychiatric hospital or jail full time by age 18. I was completely sure he was going to be dangerous to the community and to women/girls especially. NOTHING was working and it seemed truly hopeless. It did NOT help to have the social worker responding to the abuse for CPS tell us that he was "the next Hannibal Lector" - nope, not even a teensy bit of help there. She actually brought up trying to have him committed to a locked psychiatric ward for the rest of his life as her "foreseeable future" for adult him. It was my worst nightmare - that as a mother I had brought a true monster into the world.

    Now he is 19 and things are WAY different - and have been for a long, long time. I have every confidence that the SW was not just wrong, she was NUTS. This is also a reason why things like conduct disorder are not supposed to be diagnosis'd until after age 18.

    Don't give up hope - he may make progress that you haven't dared to even dream he could make. It is good to know your options, and to put some serious thought into them, but don't let the cart get ahead of the horse and drag him down a road he might not otherwise travel.

    It is a shame that any parent has to worry about this, and I am sorry it is an issue that you must consider.
  10. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    While 12 is still young, and I would certainly expect to see some big changes between now and when he hits 18, I think it's reasonable to at least start thinking about this kind of stuff. You will not believe how fast the high school years fly by. You don't have to commit to anything, but having thought out as many options as possible is really a very good idea.

    By the time your difficult child hits 17, if he still has an IEP, the district is required to send you a letter notifying you of the impending "transfer of rights" when your child hits 18, meaning he will become the responsible adult in terms of IEP stuff. He can sign a delegation of rights re: educational decisions, allowing you to continue to be informed and involved in the IEP process, but he also has the right to revoke that at any time. At that point, you really are going to have to start weighing your options re: guardianship.