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April 01, 2015

National Guardianship Network Names State Courts for Guardianship Improvement WINGS Awards

(The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: (Bifocal, Vol. 36, Issue 4).)

The National Guardianship Network (NGN) is pleased to announce five new awards of seed monies and technical assistance to states to create innovative, consensus-driven Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS).

By combining the efforts of all stakeholders into WINGS, states can better improve judicial processes, protect individual rights, address insufficient funding, ensure guardian accountability and fiduciary standards, and provide for less restrictive decision-making options.

After receiving applications from the highest courts in a number of states, NGN selected five states:

  • The District of Columbia Courts
  • The Supreme Court of Indiana
  • The Supreme Court of Minnesota
  • The Mississippi Supreme Court
  • The Washington State Supreme Court

Each of these state courts will receive up to $7,000 in financial support to launch a WINGS court-community partnership; and each will receive NGN technical assistance.

In addition, Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson has announced the creation of a broad-based Wisconsin WINGS group, with a Summit scheduled for May 27th in Madison.

In 2013, the National Guardianship Network provided WINGS awards to four pilot WINGS: the New York Court System; the Oregon Judicial Department & Oregon State Unit on Aging; the Texas Office of Court Administration; and the Utah Administrative Office of the Courts.

Additional states already have similar guardianship improvement problem-solving groups in place. In Ohio, an interdisciplinary Subcommittee on Adult Guardianship has been permanently established under the state Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Children, Families & the Courts.

In Missouri, MO-WINGS grew out of a broadly inclusive task force convened by the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Indiana’s Adult Guardianship State Task Force has been functioning as a statewide guardianship problem-solving entity on which the new Indiana WINGS will build.

West Virginia has created a Roundtable on Guardianship & Conservatorship Issues.

The creation and sustainability of state WINGS groups was a key recommendation of the 2011 Third National Guardianship Summit convened by NGN at the S.J. Quinney College of Law of the University of Utah. For Summit Standards and Recommendations, as well as 10 background papers, see the Utah Law Review, Vol. 2012, No. 3.

Funding for state WINGS was provided by the State Justice Institute, with additional monies from the Atlantic Philanthropies Designated Gift Fund, and two generous anonymous donors. NGN technical assistance to WINGS is made possible by SJI and the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging.

To adapt the WINGS model to your state, see the NGN online WINGS replication guide, entitled Wings Tips: State Replication Guide for Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders.

For more information about WINGS, see, or contact [email protected].

About the National Guardianship Network

The National Guardianship Network, established in 2002, consists of 11 national organizations dedicated to effective adult guardianship law and practice, including AARP; the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging; the ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law; the Alzheimer’s Association; the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; the Center for Guardianship Certification; the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; the National Center for State Courts; the National College of Probate Judges; the National Disability Rights Network; and the National Guardianship Association. ■