ADULT GUARDIANSHIP REFORM IS TOPIC AT FREE SYMPOSIUM
Renowned Experts to Address Major Issues Facing Growing Number of People with Disabilities and the Elderly in Illinois
CHICAGO (Aug. 8, 2001) -- "Making the Right Decision: Balancing Self-Determination and Protection from Harm in Guardianship" is the subject of a free symposium to be held 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14, at the University of Chicago Law School, 6020 S. University Ave. Open to the public, there is free parking in the Law School lot.
Co-sponsored by Equip for Equality, the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, University of Chicago, and the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, University of Chicago, the symposium will feature seven experts from various disciplines who will address three critical areas: the ethical and legal dimensions of defining the need for guardianship, the problems in assessing an individual's ability to make decisions and the extent of the need for guardianship, and best practices for monitoring guardianships.
Presenters for the symposium include: Judge Thomas Appleton, Illinois 7th Judicial Circuit; Morris A. Fred, manager, Guardianship Reform Project (GRP); Bradley Geller, counsel, Washtenaw County Probate Court, Michigan; Benedict Gierl, geriatric psychiatrist, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Unit; Mark Heyrman, clinical professor, Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, University of Chicago; Sally Balch Hurme, attorney and program consultant with Consumer Protection, AARP, Washington, D.C.; and Mary Mahowald, professor, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago.
Guardianship is the judicial process whereby a court determines that an individual does not have the capacity to make or communicate decisions and transfers that power to another individual or agency. Addressing the importance of this seminar, Mark Heyrman, who also served as chairperson of the GRP Task Force says, "Guardianship is everyone's issue. The reasons are in the statistics. By the year 2035, 25 percent of the population in this country will be elderly. With advancing age comes the increased possibility of physical or mental impairments. Some of us - or members of our family - are going to need a substitute decision-maker in various aspects of our daily lives."
This symposium is an outgrowth of an independent Guardianship Reform Project, which released a detailed report in March documenting the findings and recommendations of its Task Force for improving the adult guardianship system in Illinois. The symposium is funded by a generous grant from the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities as part of a Public Awareness and Coalition-Building Campaign enabling Equip for Equality to develop support for the GRP's key recommendations. Initial funding for the Project came from The Chicago Community Trust, the Polk Bros. Foundation, the Field Foundation of Illinois and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Guardianship Reform Project report is available to download/view inside the Guardianship Reform section of this website. For more information contact E.G. Enbar at (312) 341-0022, (800) 537-2632 or TTY (800) 610-2779.