Guardianship Advocacy

Protecting the Interests of Those at Risk

The Merle and Shirley Harris Guardianship Program becomes involved as a court-appointed guardian for those we serve. Our legal liaison, an attorney who serves as public administrator when needed, becomes the substitute decision-maker for individuals unable to make day-to-day personal decisions. In addition to
representing frail older adults, our administrator acts for those who are mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Direct services are provided as well as access to appropriate agencies and support services within the community. Professional staff
 members perform a variety of tasks, including housing and medical decisions, however, our involvement is on a much more personal level. We are regarded
as the strongest advocate for our clients. The services we provide ensure support
for the individual’s well-being and enrich his or her quality of life, regardless of race, religion or financial resources. Our volunteers are vital to our program, as
they assist in providing hands-on support. The volunteers become a treasured
friend for those who are isolated from their community.

Program Support Services

To further support the Harris Guardianship Program,
professional guidance is provided by the Volunteer Advisory Committee composed of individuals with expertise in various areas related to care and support.
 The members represent such fields as law, social work, medicine, psychology, accounting, volunteer development and protective services.

Guardianship Services

Every situation is different with the population we serve. We are often contacted to make
a determination as to whether a guardian is needed. The needs of the individual are assessed, a determination is made and the appropriate paperwork is filed with the court. Referrals are made by social agencies, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, regional treatment
centers, social workers, attorneys, families or concerned individuals.

Our responsibilities include:

  • Filing all necessary court documents
  • Visiting and communicating with clients at least quarterly or more often, if needed
  • Attending conferences with service providers and caregivers
  • Arranging for services such as case management and pastoral care
  • Accompanying clients on medical appointments
  • Ensuring that the client lives in the least restrictive environment possible
  • Applying for and securing any public or private financial and health care benefits for which the client may be eligible
  • Being available 24/7 in case of an emergency

Thank you for your support

  • The Merle and Shirley Harris Guardianship Fund
  • Erwin and Riva Baker Guardianship Program Emergency Fund
  • Charter One Foundation
  • Federation’s Annual Campaign
  • Auxiliary for Jewish Senior Life
  • Benefactors of Jewish Senior Life