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Vol. 2, No. 1: May 2018


WINGS MN has been so busy in the last 6 months there hasn't even been time for a newsletter! While this one is longer than usual, we have much to share that we hope you will find valuable and interesting, on both the local and national levels, as well as a recap of our 1/26/18 WINGS Summit and links to the Summit handouts.

We launched our WINGS MN website this year! Check it out and let us know what you think; please share with professionals and community members who like to know more about WINGS MN and our work to improve guardianship, avoid unnecessary guardianship, and promote supported decision making.  Find us at
Guardianship Complaint Advocate, Cate Boyko
The Minnesota Elder Justice Center is excited to partner with the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making and WINGS MN on a statewide pilot program to address abuse in guardianships, through September 30, 2018. As the Guardianship Complaint Advocate, Cate Boyko receives and responds to complaints related to abuse of guardianship and conservatorship; advocates, inquires and researches complaint issues to find resolution; and refers cases to appropriate agencies as needed. This project is funded by a grant (No. 90EJIG0002-01-00) from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Cate can be reached at 651-440-9310 and  As a pilot project, our partner Wilder Research will be gathering data and evaluating whether this service should continue in Minnesota, recommended modification in approach and role, with which organization or governmental office it would be a good fit, and how to sustain it.

MN Judicial Branch Announces Release of Interactive Online Training Module for Guardianship and Conservatorship

The Minnesota Conservator Account Auditing Program (CAAP) has created this training, Conservatorship and Guardianship Training , to assist individuals in their understanding, exploration, and serving as a guardian and conservator in the state of Minnesota.The interactive, self-paced training module aims to help new guardians and conservators understand their roles and responsibilities, including the statutes and policies in place to protect vulnerable individuals. The training may also be used as a refresher course by experienced guardians or conservators, or to answer specific questions about their duties.Information presented in this training is based on Minnesota laws and covers a range to topics related to guardianship and conservatorship. Through completion of this training, learners should be able to accomplish the following:
  • Recognize and understand if or when a guardianship and conservatorship is necessary.
  • Learn about establishing a guardianship and conservatorship and the parties involved in the process.
  • Understand the responsibilities and duties of a guardian and conservator.
  • Become familiar with the reporting requirements to the court.
  • Discover how a guardian and conservator may be changed, and how a guardianship and conservatorship is terminated.
  • Identify possible alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship
Center for Excellence
in Supported Decision Making
News and Activities

Crow Wing County  CESDM/WINGS MN  Guardianship
Walk-In Clinic

Since November, 2017 through September 2018 on the 2nd Monday of each month, Attorney John Kantke has been providing area families and professionals answers and consultation regarding their guardianship and alternatives. 

The primary focus of the clinic has been to assist current or prospective Guardians and/or Conservators who have questions about their role, the legal process, and their responsibilities.

CESDM Social Workers are Now
Advance Care Planning Facilitators

Promoting the full range of supported and surrogate decision making options, Amanda Hudson (L) and Kathleen Carlson(R), have been providing community education sessions teaching about the benefits of health care directives to ensure one's specific choices are known to medical providers in the event of incapacities.  As notaries, these social workers stand ready to assist individuals plan for incapacity by completing health care directives on the spot following such educational sessions.

WINGS 2018 Summit Guest Speaker Michael Latawiec and St. Thomas School of Law Elder Law and Guardianship Alternatives Clinic featured on WCCO. 

The news story tells Mr. Latawiec's story and how law students were instrumental in helping restore his decision making rights through guardianship termination.   

Guardianship & Supported Decision Making Educational Sessions in Minnesota

WINGS MN Coordinator and CESDM Project Director Anita Raymond and other WINGS MN stakeholders have been traveling the state to provide guardianship and less restrictive alternatives with a focus on introducing Supported Decision Making as a philosophical perspective as well as an emerging alternative to guardianship for people who need support, but not guardianship in making decisions. From Rochester to Thief River Falls, from Brainerd to upcoming sessions in Mankato, as well as sessions in St. Cloud, Alexandria, and the Twin Cities metro area, we have reached more than 3300 professionals and community members since the beginning of the ACL grant period in October 2016. 

WINGS and Supported Decision Making News from Across the U.S.

Oklahoma Governor signed HB 3328 creating a Commission on the Prevention of Abuse of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults.  The Commission is to study, evaluate and make recommendations for changes in state law and policy concerning individuals who may be at risk for abuse, neglect or exploitation under adult guardianship.  While this is not a WINGS group, the hope is that Commission recommendations will lead to the creation of an ongoing WINGS court-stakeholder partnership. (source: Erica Wood, ABA Commission on Law and Aging)

On April 16, 2018 Governor Walker signed Supported Decision-Making into Law in Wisconsin, giving individuals with disabilities, older adults and families an alternative to more restrictive guardianship. Among other things, it defines SDM as “a process of supporting and accommodating an adult with a functional impairment to enable the adult to make life decisions...without impeding the self-determination of the adult.”   Learn more about it from The Arc Wisconsin (source: The Arc Wisconsin)

In Alaska HB 336, the Supportive Decision-Making Agreements Act, is on its way to the Governor.  Once the Governor signs, Alaska will be the fourth state to enact such legislation - following Texas, Delaware and recently Wisconsin. (source: Erica Wood, ABA Commission on Law and Aging)

On May 5, 2014, the District of Columbia joined Texas, Delaware, and Wisconsin as the fourth jurisdiction in the United States to statutorily recognize supported decision-making agreements. A press release with more information about the Disability Services Reform Amendment Act of 2018 is attached.  (source: Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities) 

Delaware codified recognition of Supported Decision-Making in its state law in 2016 (  The state law required the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) to develop a Supported Decision-Making Agreement form.   The Delaware Supported Decision-Making Agreement form is now available on the DHSS website at: (source: Morgan Whitlatch, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities)

Guardianship News, Guardianship In The News & Related News

Recently, the National Council on Disability released a comprehensive report entitled Beyond Guardianship: Toward Alternatives that Promote Greater Self-Determination for People with Disabilities.  The report is based on qualitative research on the experiences with guardianship and decision making alternatives of people with disabilities, their families, and professionals within the guardianship system, as well as extensive review of relevant scholarship and recent studies.  (source: National Center on Elder Abuse List Serve) 

Guardianship or Conservatorship of adults is an evolving area of the law, with increased emphasis on individual empowerment and least restrictive help. The ABA Commission on Law and Aging has created a 2017 State Adult Guardianship Legislative Summary. The update includes information on the 49 state enactments on adult guardianship from 25 states last year. 

2017 also marked the approval of a newly revised Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship and Other Protective Arrangements Act. The new uniform law updates terminology and incorporates the supported decision-making model, and a focus on alternatives to modernize laws. More information is available here.  (Source: National Center on Law and Elder Rights)

Advocates Promote Guardianship Alternatives for Adults With Disabilities.” Janie Desmond was nervous the first time she boarded a train in Durham headed for Greensboro. From her wheelchair, the train seemed big, loud and unfamiliar. ---,

“The price to pay to fix NM’s beleaguered guardianship system.” Infusing New Mexico’s beleaguered guardianship system with more accountability and oversight could cost just under $1 million, with most of the money paying for computer software to spot suspicious spending in reports filed by court-appointed conservators and guardians. ---, December 10 (New Mexico) 

An interesting article from the ACLU states: "Washington State May Make It Easier to Sterilize People With Disabilities". Read more about this topic.
Nevada has a new Guardianship Compliance Office:
In February the ABA adopted Resolution 104, which urges Congress and the Social Security Administration to strengthen the safeguards and protections for all individuals receiving benefits via the representative payee program, including, but not limited to, appropriate eligibility determinations, improved monitoring and training of payees, access to accounting for beneficiaries, and the appointment of an interim payee when a payee is removed.  Read the accompanying report on COLA's website. The resolution was cosponsored by the Commission on Disability Rights. (source: Elder Bar, discussion list on Law and Aging

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was created by the United Nations International Plan of Action recognizing the significance of elder abuse as a growing social and financial concern, public health matter, and human rights issue. This year marks the 12th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in the United States and the 11th annual event in Minnesota. Each June, the Minnesota Elder Justice Center and its Center Partners sponsor a full-day professional education conference in conjunction with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The goal of this conference is to elevate the issue of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation and provide education on best practices for prevention and response.

This year’s conference, Bridges of Minnesota, will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. Registration is limited to 600 attendees. This conference is directed towards professionals who work with older and vulnerable adults. This includes Adult Protection Services, State Agencies, Non-Profits Organizations, Attorneys, Social Workers, representatives from the Criminal Justice System, Law Enforcement, Long-term Care Providers, and more.


Fourth Annual WINGS MN SUMMIT Recap

Taking place on 1/26/18, 127 professionals representing 13 counties, four different health systems, and professions such as: social work, law, ombudsman, policy, higher education and more benefited from a full day of presentations and discussion, including Chief Justice Gildea's remarks about the importance of improving guardianship and the Court's priority focus on this; Assistant Commissioner Claire Wilson's closing remarks describing the importance of improving service systems for people with disabilities; a presentation on state and national guardianship trends by Cate Boyko, formerly of CAAP, Jamie Majerus, CAAP Manager, and a facilitated discussion lead by Mary McGurran from DHS; Michael Latawiec's first-person story about guardianship, rights restoration, and lessons for professionals working with people in similar situations; experiences in implementing supported decision making by The Honorable Kristine Glen (New York) and the Honorable Frances Doherty (NV); the ABA's PRACTICAL Tool and case study application; the intersection of guardianship and immigration/citizenship (Allison Olson-Cox, Immigration Law Project; and a multidisciplinary panel discussion facilitated by Natasha Merz from the Office of the Ombudsman on the viability of SDM in settings such as long term care (April Boxeth), primary care clinics (Ken Kephart MD, psychiatric care (Matt Kruse MD; and county social services (Chandra Dennison and Tami Lueck).  Presentations and handouts can be accessed here.  Judge Glen's article, Piloting Personhood: Reflections form the First Year of a Supported Decision-Making Project is also a must-read.

The Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making is funded in part by an Elder Justice Grant from the Administration for Community Living to bring significant systems change to MN’s practices regarding how guardianship is used, and sometimes overused, with vulnerable adults with cognitive and intellectual challenges through individual case work and through convening WINGS MN.
With partners Estate and Elder Law Services, LSS MN, and the Minnesota Elder Justice Center,  the Center provides information, consultation, advice, referrals and assessments regarding adults with questionable-decisional capacity to find the most appropriate intervention to ensure well-being, supports formal and informal decision-makers so they’ll be engaged, effective and person-centered, as well as guardianship complaint advocacy.
WINGS Minnesota is a collaborative which is dedicated to supporting elders, persons with disabilities, family members and helpers, service providers, guardians and conservators through education; building a system that prioritizes supportive decision making and less restrictive alternatives to guardianship, and that maximizes autonomy for persons under guardianship; and sustaining a cooperative conversation where all guardianship stakeholders work to improve outcomes and increase self-determination for people who may need assistance making legal or medical choices.

The work of CESDM and WINGS MN is supported in part, by a grant (No. 90EJIG0002-01-00) from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living or DHHS policy.
Copyright © 2018 WINGS MN, All rights reserved.

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