Court of Chancery Transfers Guardianship Mentoring
Program to the Office of the Public Guardian
The Court of Chancery adopted Rule 180-D (effective October 1, 2013) to address the transfer of the Guardianship Monitoring Program from the Court of Chancery ("Court") to the Office of Public Guardian ("OPG"). The OPG provides guardianship services to adult citizens of Delaware who are severely mentally or physically disabled; are unable to manage their personal and financial affairs; are at risk for neglect, abuse and victimization; and have no one else able or willing to serve as a guardian.
The Guardianship Monitoring Program was developed by the Court in 2009 to fill a critical need for additional oversight of complex guardianship cases throughout the state. The Guardianship Monitor consists of one person who is responsible for visiting wards at private homes and facilities throughout the state; making recommendations regarding case action; writing fact-finding reports; and carrying out recommendations as required by the Court. Transferring the program from the Court to the Public Guardian will allow it to grow and develop under the management of the Public Guardian and use the Public Guardian's resources, including its staff, in order to enhance the services the Guardianship Monitor provides the Court and the public. The transfer also will provide the Public Guardian with enhanced resources, so that the resources used for the educational efforts currently undertaken separately by the Guardianship Monitor and the Public Guardian, which can be deployed in a more effective, cohesive statewide manner.
The rule formalizes how monitoring will be conducted and provides the Public Guardian with necessary access to various records in order to perform the required monitoring. Importantly, the Rule clarifies how cases should be referred by the Guardianship Monitor to other state agencies with responsibility for protecting vulnerable persons when such referral becomes necessary. To that end, the rule was drafted with input from the Public Guardian, the Department of Health and Social Services (the Adult Protective Services Program and the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance), and the Department of Justice (Medicaid Fraud Control Unit) after several discussions regarding the statutory responsibilities of each agency and proposed interagency protocols.