Securing Equal JusticeReaching All Victims


Many elderly people and people with a disability can’t fully care for themselves, manage their money, and make important decisions about health care and other life issues. They’re at risk of abuse as a result. Court-appointed guardians provide an important safety net, but typically that net only covers people who can pay a professional or have a family member who’s willing and able to take on this role. 

To protect vulnerable people in need of care, Vera piloted The Guardianship Project, a nonprofit model that operates in New York City. Staff lawyers, social workers, and bookkeepers oversee services that keep people safe and engaged in their communities. The alternative for many of them would be victimization or ending up in expensive, publicly funded institutions where their quality of life would decline.

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Incapacitated, Indigent, and Alone

Meeting Guardianship and Decision Support Needs in New York

In 2005, the Vera Institute of Justice and New York State’s Office of Court Administration initiated The Guardianship Project (TGP) to serve as court-appointed agency guardian to a vulnerable, largely indigent population—elders and persons with disabilities lacking family or other supports—thus enabling them to live as independently as possible. Th ...

  • Pamela B. Teaster, Erica F. Wood, John Holt, Kimberly George
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New York State Senate Guardianship Roundtable 2018

An Exploration of the Current Guardianship System in New York

The New York State Senate held a roundtable in January 2018 to explore how to improve the state’s Article 81 guardianship system, which safeguards the interests and well-being of vulnerable adults with physical and mental disabilities (including dementia and Alzheimer’s) who are unable to care for themselves. The roundtable explored whether the gua ...

  • Susan De Maio
September 26, 2018

Seniors Facing Cognitive Decline Need Responsible Financial Care from Banks, Families, and Community Providers

Many cases begin with the child managing an ailing parent’s finances or receiving financial assistance from the parent during a difficult time. Some of these children then call on their parents for increasingly large sums of money simply to pay bills or purchase expensive items, leaving their parents bankrupt and unable to care for themselves. This ...

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Why are people with disabilities who experience sexual assault in California denied justice?

Perpetrators of sexual violence often seek opportunities that will allow them to act with impunity. As a recent report issued by California Watch illustrates, gaps within and between systems serving people with disabilities create ample opportunities for doing so. The gaps detailed in this report help to explain why people with cognitive or intelle ...

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