The Eighth Judicial District Court is taking action to implement best practices for guardianship cases as established by the National Association for Court Management. District Court Chief Judge David Barker recently attended an open hearing regarding guardianship at the Clark County Commission. As the chief judge, he is entrusted with the responsibility to handle matters of concern with the court. “Our fundamental responsibility to is to promote citizens trust and confidence in the guardianship process.” said Judge Barker. “I told the County Commission that I wanted to listen and I did. I continue to listen and I have also taken immediate action including establishing a guardianship hotline at 702-671-4614 and an email link firstname.lastname@example.org for those who have concerns. “ Judge Barker sat in on guardianship cases to get a firsthand look as court officers worked. “Sitting in on guardianship cases provided valuable insight,” said Judge Barker. “As part of the fact-finding, I also spoke with those who handle these cases.”
Other action has been taken including:
• Contacting the Second Judicial District Court Chief Judge David Hardy and Nevada Supreme Court Chief Justice James Hardesty to form a high-level Guardianship Commission to review the issues and concerns expressed by the Clark County Commission.
• Contacting nationally recognized experts in guardianship for their expertise, insight and possible involvement with the commission.
• Review of significant correspondence regarding guardianship.
• Meeting with law enforcement and others in the executive branch with an eye toward cooperation that would be consistent with the judicial canons and responsive to community concerns.
• Requesting a guardianship compliance administrator and an investigator as steps to a wider strategy to address a number of important areas including:Formalizing a process for bringing complaints or concerns to the attention of the court. Implementation of a guardianship monitoring program. Promoting court/community collaboration. Developing and institutionalizing training programs for guardians and volunteers who are not professionals. Developing improved standardized procedures, forms and informational resources. Tracking and documenting the number of cases to determine and secure optimum staffing and resources.
The Guardianship Commission will examine policies and procedures currently used and provide recommendations, based on national best practices, on how they can be improved. The court appreciates the County Commission commitment to addressing this important concern and looks forward to their essential support to make the Guardianship Commission recommendations into reality. Adding a guardianship compliance administrator who is experienced in this case type will be a significant step to handling these challenges.
There are volunteer legal organizations in the community that work to assist with guardianship matters. “I ask that you support the community volunteers who are struggling but want to help,” said Judge Barker. “With calm deliberation we will allay the concerns and answer the questions asked regarding guardianship. Protecting those impacted by intellectual disabilities and diseases associated with aging is essential to the well-being of our families and community in Clark County. In cooperation with this commission, the judicial branch is actively addressing the guardianship issues raised and will pursue the best avenues and resources to develop solutions and improve the handling of guardianship cases.”