Thursday, May 22, 2014

Guardians ad Litem: Who Watches the Watchers?


You may be familiar with a recent ward of page and screen, Lisbeth Salander, a.k.a. the girl with the dragon tattoo.   Salander suffered at the hands of an abusive and controlling guardian, drawing attention to an often overlooked area of law.
This week, the Columbus Dispatch shines a light on legal guardianship in a series entitled Unguarded, exposing a system in need of reform.  For example:
A Dispatch analysis of more than 700 Franklin County guardianship cases opened during a three-year span beginning in 2007 found that in more than a third of the cases, a medical or mental-health professional determined that a patient was incompetent in less than 30 minutes.
More than 1 in 5 of them had never before seen the patient.”

If you’d like to learn more about Ohio’s guardian ad litem law, the Supreme Court of Ohio offers an Ohio Guardian ad Litem Education Program, and the Ohio Bar Association offers this basic explanation.

If you are a local attorney and want to volunteer as a guardian, the Columbus Bar Association offers relevant details.