Weak rules govern guardians

  • Article by: JAMES ELI SHIFFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 18, 2010 - 7:46 AM

Three at-risk adults had inexperienced financial managers.

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linda189380Aug. 18, 10 8:28 AM

I am the guardian for my 21 yr old daughter with Autism. I have several outside agencies with Henneoin county that I have to comply with. The fact that some type of county social services had to step in....amazing! As far as I know, my guardianship can be revoked at anytime if I don't continue to work in my daughter's best interest. Why didn't someone step in sooner?

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countyroad32Aug. 18, 10 8:37 AM

Certainly not County "Social Services", they're underpaid and understaffed.

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redcapAug. 18, 10 9:57 AM

Reading between the lines, it appears that all of the parties concerned were totally incompetent in this matter. The social workers appeared to have no clue, nor did the Petersons. My suspicion is that none of the social workers there in Aitkin county, right up to the very top, had any idea of how to manage the money of others, nor any idea of what it would look like if someone else was handling it. Otherwise, why on God's green earth would they hire someone without any experience who had just moved into the county?

Malfeasance does happen, but I really do attribute this to lack of knowledge, rather than bad intentions.

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justice700Aug. 18, 1010:07 AM

Seems to me that the social workers are the problem. They are the ones who started this mess by advertising in the paper for guardians of these people. Why not contact family members first? County Social Workers are most times not even licensed by the state - they have all this power - shouldn't they be required to be licensed? Just look at this mess in Aitkin County and I think you have the answer.

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labl55Aug. 18, 1010:22 AM

I too, like Linda above, am guardian of my 24-yr old multi-handicapped child and have strict guidelines to follow (Dakota County) to ensure that I can continue in that role. The state should have uniform guidelines for ALL counties across the board to prevent this type of fraud. Shame!

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erenoireAug. 18, 1010:36 AM

What's happened is over time, the laws designed to "guard", "conserve" and "protect" have been misued, misapplied and/or manipulated to unjustly enrich the court-appointed fiduciaries at the expense of and to the detriment of the people they are supposed to be protecting - the vulnerable elderly and disabled. To learn more and join the movement for reform, visit NASGA at www.StopGuardianAbuse.org, www.AnOpenLetterToCongress.info and http://NASGA-StopGuardianAbuse.blogspot.com. Forewarned is forearmed! Yours, Elaine Renoire NASGA

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redcapAug. 18, 1010:43 AM

It is very hard in this case to tell if the problem is malfeasance or simply incompetence. Being a somewhat trusting person, I think it is the latter.

That's not to say that deliberate, unjust enrichment happens, but I find it hard to say that is the case here.

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ragemachineAug. 18, 1010:56 AM

maybe they shouldnt pass the buck to con artists that look for exactly this opportunity. I work with vulnerable adults, have for 6 years. They do receive a lot of money but their is A LOT of services they need. Im not condoning what they did. However, to expect someone to do this without a livable wage is nonsense. The whole reason they were asked to do this is because the social worker (im sure he was a ward of the state before the guardians) They pass the buck because it is a lot of work and tough to deal with. This being said, if people dont want these things to happen to vulnerable adults i strongly suggest supporting them by ensuring their funding doesnt get cut/frozen for the last 2 years. I havent had a raise in 2 years because of decreased state funding for people with disabilites.

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justice700Aug. 18, 1010:58 AM

So redcap - you're saying that writing $10,282 worth of checks to yourself on a dead man's account is not "deliberate and unjust enrichment?" Did you read the entire article? They had no problem paying themselves, yet they withheld money from a ward for food. How can anyone read this article and not find that wrong?

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StevenAug. 18, 1011:02 AM

Until recently, I was a conservator for a woman who had no contact with her family in over 28 years. She was a self pay at the nursing home for 10 years. I was regulated by the County in what I could charge her for my services. I answered to an Attorney and the court yearly. When I took control. she had just over one million dollars and after ten years of caring for her, when she passed on she still had just under one million dollars. It is a full time job when there is that much money. I was praised by the court and her family for the fiscal responsibility and care that was giving to her. Should the Conservator be licensed? I think so. it is a easy thing to steal their money with bogus claims and bills. The sad part, I was closer to this woman then her own family for the past 20 years. She was unable to put a will together because of a brain injury. She wanted her money to go to me when she died, but with out a will, her family received it and I received about $3500.00 for the work I did in her last year of life. I'm not complaineing, but no contact with family in 28 years then when she dies, all they asked for was, where the money?

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