Vol. 1, No. 4: December 2017



Save the date in your calendar for the next WINGS Summit in St. Paul.  We're planning an engaging and interactive day with a focus on moving from theory of supported decision making into practical applications. Learn about SDM in other states and how it is being applied in Minnesota, from engaging local and national speakers.  Some travel and accommodation assistance will be available for attendees from Greater Minnesota.  

Watch your email for registration and event details in coming weeks.


WINGS MN partners with the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making, reminding Minnesota of the Guardianship Information Line resource: staffed by social workers, the Guardianship Information Line provides expert information, advice, consultation, and referral regarding guardianship, supported decision making, and alternatives including supported decision making.  The Guardianship Information Line is available throughout Minnesota to professionals, community members, families and individuals.  


Guardianship Information Line

Toll Free:  844-333-1748 
Local:  952-945-4174


Training available throughout MN! 

In the past year, we have provided education and training on guardianship options and supported decision making to more than 2,000 professionals throughout Minnesota.  Contact us to inquire about presentations in your community: 

National WINGS News
In June, the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging (ABA Commission)  announced that it had awarded funding and technical assistance grants to eight state courts to establish or expand innovative, consensus-driven WINGS efforts in those states, through an Administration on Community Living (ACL) Elder Justice Innovation Grant to the ABA Commission, in collaboration with the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).  These grants support multidisciplinary efforts that advance guardianship reform, address abuse, and promote less restrictive decision-making options: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Idaho, New Mexico, Indiana, Oregon and Utah join 18 other states, including Minnesota, who already have WINGS or similar guardianship problem-solving groups.

According to Erica Wood of the ABA's Commission on Law and Aging, "State WINGS groups bring together stakeholders from judicial, legal, aging, disability, health and mental health, and guardianship entities to find solutions for “on the ground” guardianship problems, foster education and training, and change practices that touch lives.  WINGS groups open doorways to communication among entities serving the same populations." 
For more information on the new WINGS awards and on WINGS activities and resources, visit: ABA Commission’s webpage on
WINGS Court-Stakeholder Partnerships 

A key part of the ABA Commission's technical assistance under the ACL Elder Justice Innovation Grant is the development of "WINGS Action Tools" on pressing guardianship issues:
Right to and Role of Counsel in Guardianship Proceedings.

Supported Decision Making News

Nationally, SDM is making headway in demonstrating that people with disabilities can be successfully supported outside of guardianship.  The National Resource Center on Supported Decision Making recently shared this story: Freed From Guardianship A Kentucky First: Suzie Wins Her Rights in Court Using SDM
In Reno, NV, Judge Frances Doherty is leading an campaign to utilize supported decision making to promote dignity and choice as an alternative to guardianship.  
In August, The American Bar Association House of Delegates adopted Resolution 113:   RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal legislatures to amend their guardianship statutes to require that supported decision-making be identified and fully considered as a less restrictive alternative before guardianship is imposed; and urges courts to consider supported decision-making as a less restrictive alternative to guardianship; and FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal legislatures to amend their guardianship statutes to require that decision-making supports that would meet the individual’s needs be identified and fully considered in proceedings for termination of guardianship and restoration of rights; and urges all courts to consider available decision-making supports that would meet the individual’s needs as grounds for termination of a guardianship and restoration of rights.
The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act was signed into law on October 18. Section 501 refers to Court-Appointed Guardianship Oversight Activities under the Elder Justice Act of 2009. It calls for demonstration projects, with grant awards to the highest courts of States and encourages collaboration.  (Source: Brenda K. Uekert, PhD, National Center for State Courts) 


If you haven't seen it yet, you should check out The New Yorker's article How the Elderly Lose Their Rights and related media coverage such as WBUR's On Pointe episode of Who’s Guarding Against the Guardians?  for in-depth coverage of the problem.  While these are unflattering portrayals of the guardianship system failing the very people it should be protecting, and the criminal acts of a Las Vegas professional guardian, we must not shy away from the horror stories, but rather learn from them, and seek improvements in our laws and practices to prevent such occurrences.   Stories such as these are critical reminders of the value of the due process protections built into our statute, and why we advocate for statutory protections, best practices, and rights protections for the people impacted by guardianship. 

The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging (ABA Commission) recently announced the release of the results of their extensive research on guardianship restoration throughout the United States, exploring how often and under what circumstances guardianships are terminated and self-determination and choice efforts are supported. Learn more: Restoration of Rights in Adult Guardianship: Research & Recommendations

WINGS member Cate Boyko will be presenting at the 2018 Aging in America Conference, which takes place in San Francisco, March 26-29, and is able to offer a $50 registration discount.  Just enter promotion code PRES50 when you register. Also be sure to register by January 31 as rates go up after this date.
Share this newsletter with your colleagues and invite them to contact us at to subscribe and join the WINGS MN community; don't miss out on future announcements and events!

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 and LSS MN, 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, and supports formal and informal decision-makers so they’ll be engaged, effective and person-centered:  
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.
This newsletter is supported 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.
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