How California is grappling with conservatorship – Press Telegram

It’s unlikely that this is the summer when we talk about power of attorney.

As the latest developments in Britney Spears’ 13-year power of attorney dominate headlines, a long-discussed question by supporters suddenly became a supper conversation. When is it okay to deprive people of their rights to protect their welfare? Can you trust the legal system to protect you from abuse?

A 39-year-old pop star gave explosive testimony at a June hearing at the Probate Court in Los Angeles, and her parents forced her to keep her contraceptives and take medication. He said he demanded that she continue playing.

“It doesn’t make sense,” she told the judge. “The law needs to change.”

Even before the Spears situation got public attention, state policymakers Discussion Change California’s Power of Attorney for a Completely Different Reason: Increased Visibility of People Living on the Streets with Serious Untreated Mental Illness.

A bill was submitted this year to change the state’s “severe disability” standards to facilitate the protection of people with serious mental illness. Meanwhile, bills inspired by the Spears case, which demands greater transparency and stricter accountability, continue to pass Congress.

These seemingly discordant parental situations in California have caused a lot of confusion. Is it too easy or too difficult to get people into the guardianship system? Does the process violate people’s rights? Or do you keep them safe?

People in all aspects of the conversation agree that change is lagging. But their vision of what the problem is and where the solution lies is often different.

Anyway, what is the power of attorney system?

The power of attorney is represented by a court on behalf of the “power of attorney”, which is considered to be cognitively impaired due to dementia, intellectual disability, or severe mental illness and unable to make independent decisions. It is a legal arrangement that appoints a person and makes a decision. These include everything from the right to make medical and financial decisions to managing basic life choices such as where to live and whether to have sex or get married.

As is the case with Spears, the power of attorney may be split between two parties. The “guardian of the person” manages personal matters, and the “guardian of real estate” manages the financial problems.

In some states, such an arrangement is called “protection.” However, in California, the term is reserved for arrangements involving children.

How does the power of attorney work in California?

In Golden State, there are two types of parental systems.

Since 2008, Britney Spears has participated in the power of attorney system. These are primarily designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities or dementia. Parents can petition to terminate it, but they will be granted indefinitely by the county will probate judge. A subset of the power of attorney system, known as the limited guardianship system, has been reduced in scope and reserved for adults with developmental disabilities.

In contrast, Lanterman-Petris-Short’s parental system is designed for people with serious mental illness who have “severe disabilities” that cannot provide food, clothing and shelter. These reserves are also determined by the county judge and need to be renewed annually. Their name comes from the 1967 law, which was proposed by Republican Senator Frank Lanterman and Democratic Senators Nicholas Petris and Alan Short, who established strict standards for involuntary treatment.

Alex Bernard, an assistant professor at New York University’s Department of Sociology, who studies the power of attorney in California, said the two types of power of attorney are in many ways different systems. But they share the same name, so he’s worried that the general public may now be confusing “apples and oranges.”

Both types of parents can involve public parents, private professionals, or families. But it’s far more likely that private restorers will be involved with the prosecution, especially in situations where large amounts of money are involved, such as Spears, said Scarlet Hughes, executive director of the California Administrative Administrators Association. Said. ..

“Public guardians will never be appointed in such a money case,” she said.

How many people in California use the guardianship system?

No one knows for sure. And most people agree that it’s a real problem.

Zoe Brennan Clone, a staff lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Disability Rights Project, said: “You are losing your civil rights, your freedom, your autonomy. The lack of data on what is very important is a huge problem.”

That does not mean that there are no statistics. According to the State Department’s medical services, the county’s self-reported data is 1,459 people In 2019-20, they were temporary Lanterman-Petris-Short parents, with 3,672 permanent parents. However, some experts say the data is inaccurate. For example, last year many counties, including the state’s largest Los Angeles, did not report at all.

Carried by Campbell Democrat Evan Low Act of Parliament 1194 This year, we’ll explain what’s working, what’s not working, and how many people are affected by California’s power of attorney to address this apparent lack of transparency. I asked for a report.

“We want to pull the curtain back,” he said. His law also includes provisions to anticipate conflicts of interest. This is to prevent the court from allowing conservator-restors to pay to companies with financial interests.

Promotion of increased transparency and accountability is also underway nationwide.

Prompted by Spears’ testimony earlier this month, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bob Casey wrote to Secretary of Health and Welfare Xavier Besera and Attorney General Merrick Garland. National parent data..

“MS. Spears’ proceedings shed light on long-standing concerns from supporters who emphasized the potential economic and civil rights infringement of a guardian or an individual under the control of a guardian,” they wrote. ..

Senator Republicans called for a hearing on the issue in the spring, and Senator Ted Cruz joined the podcast, calling himself “candidly and clearly in the #FreeBritney camp.”

Is it too easy to get someone into the guardianship system? Or is it too difficult?

It depends on who you ask and the type of guardian.

Some people, like Spears, find it too easy to get someone into the power of attorney. Also, once the decision is made, there is no annual expiration and renewal process for the contract.

“It’s just a recipe for abuse that there is little oversight that one person has anomalous control over another,” said ACLU’s Brennan-Clone.

Instead, she wants to see more resources for less restrictive treatment to address trauma and housing needs. She also wants the law to outline less restrictive options that must be attempted before adult guardianship, including a process called supportive decision-making. California isn’t included in it, but she says it’s included in the nine state codes.

Critics of the prosecution system, in particular, have long warned of abuse. In 2005, the Los Angeles Times published a highlight survey Extensive abuse within the guardianship system.. In response, the Legislature passed a series of amendments in 2006. However, due to the 2008 recession, many of the promised changes and increased surveillance were not funded, Law said.

Most experts agree that it is more difficult to appoint someone as the guardian of Lanterman-Petris-Short. This is partly because rights can be reduced more severely. To get someone into the power of attorney, you need “clear and compelling evidence.” However, appointing someone as the guardian of Lanterman-Petris-Short “beyond reasonable doubt” requires stricter proof criteria.

Randall Hagar, a legislative advocate and policy consultant for the California Psychiatric Alliance, says it is “very difficult” to appoint someone as a guardian of Lanterman-Petris-Short. The standard of proof is “very high,” he says, and the amount of information needed to meet that standard is “huge.” He said the court investigation would take nearly 30 days.

Because of this, many Family members Those who are trying to take a loved one with a serious mental illness to such a guardian want to see the standards relaxed. In recent years, some legislature bills have sought to amend the law with a focus on expanding the definition of people who can be considered “severely disabled.” 2020 State audit A bill was submitted for this session that disagreed with this premise and changed its definition.

Teresa PasquiniAdult son Danny, who has been under the protection of Lanterman-Petrice-Short for 20 years, may eventually die after seeing years of arrest, homelessness, and violence. He said he was worried about it. She fought for the protection she says he was stable and allowed him to take care of what he needed.

“The power of attorney saved him,” she said. “It was also luck, heroes and relationships. It’s not a policy. It’s not a standard.”

Is the Britney Spears power of attorney an exception or a rule?

Again, it depends on who you ask.

Most people who participate in the power of attorney say, “I’m not a 39-year-old millionaire. I have only one Britney Spears.”

However, he believes her case, like some disability advocates, points to problems within the system. He said he had “countless phone calls” from family and individuals in a similar situation since he submitted the bill.

“I don’t think it’s that outlier,” said ACLU’s Brennan clone. “Of course, there are parts of attention, wealth, fame, talent, etc. The reason I’m tracking this case closely, the reason ACLU was involved in this case, is what we see, Really, really well known. “The Spears case is a” very good catalyst “for reform, she said. Because “it really always happens to people”.

However, others warn not to confuse the situation of Spears with that of a homeless person with a serious mental illness.

“All sorts of reforms based on meeting the needs of Britney Spears seem really dangerous to me,” said Bernard of New York University.

So how do you need to improve your system?

Many people who work within the guardianship claim that the process is working. It’s just out of resources.

“My fear is that people will not trust the court to do the right thing,” said Judge Mary Thornton House, who worked in the Los Angeles County Superior Court for 22 years, including eight years in the Probate Court. Said. “And that would be a tragedy.”

Mr House said he thinks the public should be more concerned about budget cuts rather than worrying about how the process works. She said it would be great if the Probate Court could consider the case more often. “But where are the court resources to do that?”

How California is grappling with conservatorship – Press Telegram Source link How California is grappling with conservatorship – Press Telegram

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