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The details of adult public guardianship

When a loved one becomes incapable of performing basic self-care, it can be difficult to decide on a future plan. Needless to say, adult guardianship can change many aspects of life, and can significantly alter schedules and daily activities. Depending on the disability, this type of care can span an entire lifetime. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the many approaches one can take when considering legal adult guardianship in Maryland.

Early last year, a story from The Baltimore Sun encouraged readers with disabled children to start future planning sooner than later. Why? According to The Sun, special needs children often require extended assistance to move forward into adulthood. The Howard County Autism Society points out that, while the state offers funding for special education for disabled children, this funding ends when a child graduates high school or turns 21. This shift in support can come as a shock to many families. The Autism Society stresses the importance of learning about different needs post-high school, including transportation, housing and employment opportunities. Types of guardianship can also depend on a child’s specific needs.

The Maryland Department of Human Services provides further details on adult public guardianship in the state, stating that this specific term involves a legal procedure in which courts may decide whether an individual’s ability to make health and safety decisions for themselves is compromised by various complications. If an individual suffers from disease, accident or disability, the court may grant that person a guardian to serve as a decision-maker. Some of the professionals who take part in determining an individual’s need for a guardian include:

  • A representative of the local department of social services
  • A public health nurse 
  • An attorney

There are other professionals involved in making this important decision. The DHS adds that there are two different types of adult public guardianship, but in most cases, an individual requires such guardianship when no other family members are able to assist with daily needs.

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