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From Protection to Advocacy: The Power and Purpose of Guardianship

30, Dec 2023


Guardianship is a legal process that grants one person the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person who is unable to make decisions for themselves. Traditionally, guardianship has been seen as a means of protection for individuals who are deemed incapable of managing their affairs due to cognitive or physical disabilities. However, in recent years, the concept of guardianship has evolved from a purely protective role to one that also includes advocacy for the rights and well-being of the person under guardianship. This shift recognizes the importance of promoting autonomy and self-determination for individuals with disabilities.

Here are some following ways in which guardianship can serve as a tool for both protection and advocacy:

1. Decision-making:

Guardians can make decisions regarding medical treatment, housing, education, and other important aspects of a person's life, ensuring that their best interests are being considered.

2. Financial management:

Guardians can oversee an individual's finances, ensuring responsible management and protecting against financial exploitation.

3. Healthcare advocacy:

Guardians can act as advocates for the person's healthcare needs, ensuring appropriate medical care and treatment.

4. Legal representation:

Guardians can provide legal representation for the person and advocate for their rights in legal proceedings.

5. Access to services:

Guardians can help navigate the complex system of disability services, ensuring that the person has access to necessary support and resources.

6. Personal advocacy:

Guardians can advocate for the person's wishes and preferences, ensuring that their voice is heard in decision-making processes.

7. Safety and well-being:

Guardians can monitor the person's living situation, ensuring that they are in a safe and supportive environment.

8. Education advocacy:

Guardians can advocate for the person's educational needs, ensuring that they receive appropriate accommodations and support.

9. Social inclusion:

Guardians can support the person in developing and maintaining relationships, promoting social inclusion and preventing isolation.

10. Monitoring and accountability:

Guardians can provide oversight and accountability, regularly reviewing the person's situation and ensuring that their rights and well-being are protected.


Guardianship has evolved from a solely protective role to one that encompasses advocacy for individuals with disabilities. Guardians have the power and purpose to make decisions, manage finances, advocate for healthcare and education, ensure access to services, support personal preferences, promote safety and well-being, foster social inclusion, provide accountability, and advocate for the overall rights and well-being of the person under guardianship. By recognizing the importance of autonomy and self-determination, guardianship serves as a valuable tool to protect and advocate for individuals who may otherwise struggle to navigate and access the necessary resources and support.

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