Understanding Guardianships: What if there is no guardian available? Won’t DFCS be named as the guardian?

We often hear from healthcare professionals and long-term care providers who are concerned about incapacitated individuals needing a guardian and having no family or friends available to help them. What happens when an adult can no longer make his/her own decisions but there is no one to step in and help them? This situation is likely to be a growing concern as more single, divorced, childless, and orphaned adults reach the old, old age. Currently, Georgia has a specific process in place to help such vulnerable adults. First, the courts will search for any family, friends, volunteers, or the county guardian to be named the guardian. If no person is available, the judge may appoint a Public Guardian (a person that is registered with the court and has met certain qualifications to act as a guardian in the county where the ward resides). When no Public Guardian is available, the Department of Human Services will designate a representative to provide services. DFCS (the Department of Family and Children Services) no longer acts as the guardian of last resort.

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