In 2016, Volunteers of America Minnesota and Wisconsin opened the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making (expanding the services offered by VOA's program formerly known as Protective Services since 1972) with funding provided by an Elder Justice Grant through the Administration for Community Living. In partnership with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Human Services, Minnesota Elder Justice Center, and Minnesota's Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS MN), the central focus of the grant was to develop and establish a replicable statewide model based on Supported Decision Making to promote safe and viable alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship in Minnesota. In August 2019, the Center for Excellence in Supported Decision Making (CESDM) was recognized during the Age & Disability Odyssey Conference, which honors outstanding efforts to bring possibilities to life for older adults and people with disabilities. CESDM is currently funded with support of a Live Well at Home grant from the MN Department of Human Services, county contracts, private pay and training fees, and donations.
SERVING ADULTS living with cognitive, intellectual and psychiatric issues AND THEIR SUPPORT SYSTEMS
The Center for Excellence consults with families and professionals, providing in-depth phone based consultation, information, advice, and referral, with an emphasis on identifying suitable alternatives to guardianship where possible. The Center Social Workers can also provide objective in-person assessments regarding need for guardianship and available alternatives. CESDM works
intensively with VOA MN's Estate & Elder Law Services who provides legal and technical advice, as well as facilitation of legal tools such as Supported Decision Making Agreements, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive Documents, and where necessary, petitioning for appointment guardianship/conservatorship, as well as termination or modification of existing guardianship/conservatorship matters.
Impacting the Community
There is strong and growing evidence that people with disabilities are happier, safer, and healthier when they are empowered to make choices about their own lives. WINGS MN was established as part of a national movement for improving guardianship and conservatorship practices. Convened by CESDM Director Anita Raymond, WINGS includes membership from legal, advocacy, court, state, county, and social service organizations.
WINGS stands for Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders. WINGS Minnesota is dedicated to:
- Supporting guardians and conservators, particularly family members or friends, through education to better understand best practices and their responsibilities.
- Building awareness and processes that ensure that less restrictive alternatives are the default choice.
- Sustaining a cooperative conversation where all members work to improve outcomes and increase self-determination for individuals who may need assistance making legal or medical choices.
- Contact the CESDM Guardianship Information Line to learn more
- Phone: 952-945-4174 or Toll Free: 844-333-1748