Forum brings awareness to Supported Decision Making, an alternative to Guardianship

KOLO spoke with a local mom who says a 2019 state law allowing those with developmental disabilities to choose who is in their support network saved his life
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 6:06 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities is inviting providers and parents of children with special needs to participate in a forum about supported decision-making.

In 2019, the state of Nevada passed a law which allows people with disabilities to choose people they know and trust to be part of a support network to help with decision-making. This is an alternative to guardianship which is more restrictive and involves a court order.

We spoke with a local mom who says this option saved her son’s life.

“I honestly think he would not be on the earth. His blood condition, they didn’t think he would make it to his teens and he’s made it to 21,” said Toni Richard. “So you know, being here is what has kept him alive. He gets to pick what he wants for dinner, what restaurant.”

The goal is to allow people with disabilities to have a voice and make their own decisions. However, because the law is fairly new, many families still don’t know about it.

“There’s often a pipeline from school to guardianship where that age of majority transition occurs and you have guardianship while still receiving services,” said Deputy Director of Litigation with Nevada Legal Services, Alex Cherup. “Our thought is if we can have supported decision-making then there doesn’t have to be that immediate jump from school to guardianship and we can look at lesser restrictive alternatives.”

The process to establish a supported decision-making agreement is fairly easy and doesn’t require going to court.

You can learn more about it during a virtual forum Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Click here to register.

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