tcsglogo.gif (1451 bytes)

Best Practice

Vol. 7, Nos. 3 & 4

On Delivery of Legal Assistance to Older Persons

September 1996

TCSG Announces New National Guardianship Mediation Initiative

TCSG has long been a leader in the study of guardianship law and practice and in advocating maximum autonomy and independence for older persons. Having grappled with the inadequacies of the court guardianship process, we have, since 1991, pioneered the testing and evaluation of mediation as an effective alternative -- an alternative that promotes autonomy, dignity and well-being of older persons while maintaining, even enhancing, vital relationships with and among family and other caregivers. We have also identified appropriate and inappropriate cases for mediation. TCSG first received funds from the National Institute for Dispute Resolution to pilot a project with the Washtenaw County (Michigan) Probate Court. That pilot was so successful that TCSG sought and received funds from Retirement Research Foundation to expand into four new sites (Tampa, Albuquerque, Chicago and Denver) and to create an extensive, about-to-be-released, training/replication guide, The Adult Guardianship Mediation Manual.

Having demonstrated its value, the challenge now is to make guardianship mediation accessible to the thousands of older and disabled persons and their families who have no alternative to court procedures. The Hewlett grant will enable us to work to change current thinking and practice, and move to this next level, i.e. from pilot programs to bringing guardianship mediation into the mainstream. To achieve this we will work directly with four essential audiences: the mediators/ dispute resolution community; the bar, particularly elder law, probate and family law practitioners; the courts, both judges and court administrators; and the aging network which is ideally positioned to affect the way guardianship is pursued.

For more on specific activities to be undertaken as part of this new initiative, see New Grant Allows TCSG to Expand Guardianship Mediation Resources.

Back to TCSG Home 

The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
A National Support Center in Law and Aging
2307 Shelby Avenue  Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Tel: (734) 665-1126  Fax: (734) 665-2071