What’s Best for Your Family: Exploring Guardianship

When your son or daughter turns 18 it may feel like guardianship is your only option, but there are alternatives for caretakers and their loved one.

Including You is brought to you by the Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

To be appointed as your son or daughter’s guardian, the person or ward must lack the capacity to make decisions and there must be no other less-restrictive alternatives available to them. The role of guardian includes duties such as:

  • Making decision
  • Giving consent
  • Explaining
  • Advocating

What if My Child Doesn’t Need a Guardian?

Supported Decision-Making is an excellent alternative to guardianship.

In supported decision-making situations, the decision-maker maintains their basic civil right to choose what course of action to take. They also chose:

  • Who will support them
  • What decisions to seek help with
  • How that help looks for them

The supporters are willing and able to help the decision-maker in whatever capacity they request. Sometimes this relationship is documented in a written agreement. Supporters can be family, friends, church members, professionals, etc.

Other forms of less-restrictive alternatives include:

  • Trust
  • Conservatorship
  • Adult Protective Services
  • Authorized Representative
  • Power of Attorney

Talk with your family about what is best for your situation. For more information about guardianship and the alternatives, check out Disability Rights.

The Tuscarawas County Board of Developmental Disabilities (TuscBDD) has resources for children and adults with developmental disabilities. TuscBDD provides Early Intervention for children birth to three years old, Service and Support Administration for people of all ages, family support services, family mentorship, and more! To learn more about these services and others, visit TuscBDD online at

Audrey Mattevi

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