Developmentally Disabled Guardianships

Guardianships for persons diagnosed with a developmental disability are necessary when a developmentally disabled person needs protection for any reason, including protection from neglect, exploitation, or abuse. Generally, a guardianship for a developmentally disabled person is filed after the individual attains the age of majority.

The law states that a guardian may be appointed if a court determines that a person is an individual with a developmental disability. The law defines a developmental disability as a severe, chronic condition that meets all of the following 1) it is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or a combination of mental and physical impairments; 2) it was manifested before the individual was 22 years old; 3) it is likely to continue indefinitely; and 4) it results in substantial functional limitations in at least three of the following major life activities: self-care, receptive and expressive language, learning, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, economic self-sufficiency and 5) it reflects the individual's need for a combination and sequence of special, interdisciplinary, or generic care, treatment or other services that are of lifelong or extended duration and are individually planned and coordinated.

Guardianships for individuals with developmental disability shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote and protect the well-being of the individual, including protection from neglect, exploitation and abuse; are designed to encourage the development of maximum self-reliance and independence in the individual; and are ordered only to the extent necessitated by the individual's actual mental and adaptive limitations. For further information, please review the brochure Guardianships: Persons with Developmental Disability (PDF).

  • Starting a Developmentally Disabled Guardianship Case
  • Annual Reporting
  • When may a guardianship be modified or terminated?