Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making

Guardianship Information Line

Call or email for a free consultation

Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making (CESDM) is a statewide resource offering free in-depth telephone consultation, referrals, information and assistance through the Guardianship Information Line. CESDM also offers multi-dimensional assessments of persons who are at risk for guardianship/conservatorship services. Our social workers are skilled in navigating nuanced scenarios and working with individuals to facilitate Supported Decision Making options. We provide advocacy and coaching to assist families in avoiding guardianship/conservatorship where possible, and navigating the court process when necessary.


Office: 3333 N. 4th Street Minneapolis, MN 55412

Service: Offered throughout the seven county metropolitan area and statewide


Monday–Friday, 8:00 a.m.– 4:30 p.m.




Adults with challenges managing or making decisions regarding care, finances or safety, their caregivers, and professionals supporting them.


Services are funded by grants, state and county contracts, client fees, and private donations

How we help

For nearly 50 years, the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making (formerly, Protective Services) has been providing services for adults living with impaired cognitive, intellectual, and psychiatric functioning and their caregivers. These individuals may be experiencing issues including abuse or exploitation, dementia/impaired cognitive functioning, difficulty managing finances, and lack of cooperation with family, friends or care providers, and other complexities. 

The Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making (CESDM) is experienced in working with complex situations. Our team works to balance protection with promoting the benefits of self-determination. Services are provided in the least restrictive manner possible, honoring the person’s rights, values and lifestyle. Our experienced social workers practice in a collaborative, person-centered style involving families and other professionals, empowering them to assist the person, with or without court intervention, to ensure basic needs are met, quality of life is enhanced, and risks are minimized.

Families and professionals have found our team to be invaluable in sorting through the complexities of meeting the needs of adults whose capacity is in question, helping them to navigate the legal process when necessary and avoid it when possible.

Additionally, we offer an extensive training program for individuals interested in serving as independent, professional guardian/conservators. We are also available to community and professional groups for educational presentations and training in the areas of supported decision making, guardianship/conservatorship, less restrictive alternatives, planning for incapacity, Health Care Directives and more.

Our social workers can provide expert testimony, objective assessments related to a person's decisional capacity assessments and more, in complicated family or legal situations.

Service descriptions

FREE Telephone Consultation, Information and Assistance, Referrals

Our team can spend as much time as needed assisting the caller to understand:

  • Supported Decision Making
  • The guardianship and conservatorship system
  • Needs of the adult experiencing difficulties
  • Practical intervention tips to assist the caregiver to be more effective in working with the individual
  • Approaches to help address the concern which may avoid the need for guardianship/conservatorship, including facilitating less restrictive alternatives

Additionally, our team offers referrals to community services, attorneys specializing in elder law/disability law issues, and independent professional guardians/conservators, trustees, and powers of attorney, as needed.

Due to support from grants, state and county contracts, private client fees, and Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin, there is no charge for this type of consultation and support.


Sometimes a situation needs a closer look to determine whether the person would benefit from our involvement in facilitating a supported decision making plan, a health care directive, or guardianship/conservatorship. CESDM can complete an in-depth, objective assessment with the person, including seeking extensive input from the person's formal and informal support system. Focusing on avoiding court and identifying appropriate less restrictive alternatives, our team can develop recommendations to best meet the individual's needs. An assessment by the CESDM team can also assist in contested guardianship/conservatorship court cases to enable parties to come to terms of settlement, or provide strength to a position in favor or against the appointment of a guardian/conservator. Hourly fees may apply or may be waived at the discretion of CESDM, depending on funding available.

Advocacy and Coaching

The decision to seek the appointment of a guardian or conservator can be overwhelming for families of persons in need of a surrogate decision-maker. When telephone consultation is insufficient, we engage with family members to advocate with involved professionals to determine and implement workable alternatives to court intervention or provide supportive non-legal coaching to family members through the often stressful and confusing petitioning process. Our experience and expertise bring reassurance to family members that they have chosen the best path to meet the needs of the person.


When our assessment determines there is no other way to meet the personal and/or financial needs of the individual, and there is no one in the person's life to do so, CESDM can work with an attorney to file a petition with the court seeking the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator, or to request the court to modify or terminate an existing guardianship.


An in-depth training course is offered in fulfillment of county contracts for persons wishing to serve as independent guardians/conservators. The training is offered on an application basis to individuals who would best be able to fulfill the needs of the contracts. The training course is held one afternoon/week over six consecutive weeks each Spring, either virtually or in the Minneapolis area. To be added to our mailing list, please email Provide your name and mailing address to receive an application packet in late winter. Visit Minnesota Association for Guardianship and Conservatorship for more information about becoming an independent, or professional, guardian/conservator.

Educational Presentations

We can tailor a presentation to your time and content needs, including professional education credits and community and family groups. Presentations can be as short as one hour or can be as comprehensive as a 16-hour training. Our honorarium may be adjusted or waived at CESDM discretion.

For more information, contact us
Phone: 952-945-4174 or 1-844-333-1748