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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 16, 2018 09:01 AM
From: Representative Ed Neilson
To: All House members
Subject: Enacting Parameters on Guardianship
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation to enact much needed parameters and requirements for guardians of incapacitated persons in Pennsylvania.

Unlike 27 other states and the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania does not require criminal background checks for potential guardians nor does the Commonwealth prohibit individuals convicted of crimes from becoming guardians. Additionally, several other states, including California, Florida, Texas and Washington, require court-appointed guardians to receive certification to ensure standards of practice and safeguard against guardianship abuse. It is clear that Pennsylvania’s guardianship laws as they currently stand are not adequate enough to provide the necessary protections for incapacitated persons and they do little to hold guardians accountable.

As such, my legislation will help prevent future cases of guardianship abuse, neglect and exploitation by filling faults in the law through commonsense reforms, which will include background checks, certification requirements, surety bond requirements, court approval of fees and requirements for reports to the incapacitated person’s family. It is my belief that we as a legislature must do more to protect our most vulnerable citizens whose care is entrusted to these guardians. Pennsylvania ranks seventh in the nation for the percent of our population aged 65 years or older, meaning we must take action now to improve the guardianship system as more and more Pennsylvanians may require court-appointed guardians in the near future.

Please join me in protecting incapacitated persons and their families from falling victim to guardianship abuse. Your consideration and co-sponsorship are appreciated.