FL: Wards of the State Depend on Their Guardian Angels

A decades-old photo of Santa Claus and a child in winter clothing sits on the dresser in a holiday-bedecked bedroom.

That little girl, who was developmentally disabled and had cerebral palsy, lived with her parents in Massachusetts.

Now, at 62, with no family left to see to her needs, Kathy lives in a Space Coast group home as a legal ward of the state’s Statewide Public Guardianship Office. At the request of her guardian and because of privacy concerns, FLORIDA TODAY agreed not to publish her last name.

Along with 82 other adults in Brevard who’ve been declared incapacitated, all aspects of Kathy’s care falls to Aging Solutions, a nonprofit appointed by the state as the Office of the Public Guardian here and in three other counties.

The often-sad stories of these wards are highlighted annually over the holidays through Aging Solutions’ “Elves for Elders” campaign, which provides basic gifts for the organization’s charges.

But how do these Floridians, most older than 60, land in guardianship in the first place? And how are their needs met the rest of the year?

Wards, many cognitively and physically impaired, wind up under state guardianship for diverse reasons. Some were exploited financially by caretakers or family. Some living in dangerous, unhealthy situations were referred by the Department of Children and Families; others by hospitals or neighbors. Those with sufficient assets often are put in a private guardian’s care. Those who are indigent can fall under the state’s protection.

All share a bond: They no longer can care for themselves and have no family or friends to step up and take the lead. For example, Kathy’s parents and brother are deceased, and though she has one aunt in Brevard County, the older woman is unable to look after her niece.

Full Article and Source:
Wards of the State Depend on Their Guardian Angels


4 Responses to “FL: Wards of the State Depend on Their Guardian Angels”

  1. Thelma Says:

    The state is responsible for the care of such people. But why has it turned into a money business?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    While this is a positive article about public guardian's. It did not discuss the pay the public guardian pays the guardian's. Also a great false hood under professional guardian's is these wards are being abused by family and no one to take care of them. Many of these professional guardians in Florida, lie in court, lie to who ever will listen to them, cause trouble for family that are there to care for there loved ones, all at great expense to family estates. There is a huge group of corrupt guardian's, attorneys and Judges right here in Pinellas County, 6th Judicial Circuit. Please, keep your loved one out of guardianship at all cost! Check out the handling of my sweet mother, Retta Rickow who passed away on Dec. 8th. She had family that love her dearly, was there to take care of her, but denied that because a guardian and his attorney said family was trying to hurt her. They ripped her out of her home, moved her a 45 min. drive away, and would never let her leave the facility. Greatly used the facility to intimidate her family and denied her family hospice services. These are not guardian angels. More like guardian, money grabbing devils! Know the truth!

  3. StandUp Says:

    I hope these guardian angels are true angels and not just opportunists.

  4. Betty Says:

    It sure sounds like a postive story and that's good to see. Thank you, NASGA, for being balanced.

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