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Fall 2022 National Guardianship Association’s newsletter highlights the Colorado Office of Public Guardianship.
The Colorado Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) is a public agency established by the Colorado General Assembly. Pursuant to § 13-94-104(1), C.R.S. (2017), the Colorado General Assembly created the Office of Public Guardianship within the Judicial Department.
The Director and the OPG Commission have the decision-making authority to determine agency policy. The Director serves at the pleasure of the OPG Commission pursuant to § 13-94-104(3), C.R.S. (2019).
The Colorado OPG is a pilot program initially operating in the Second Judicial District and subsequently the Seventh and Sixteenth Judicial Districts conditional upon securing additional funding effective until June 30, 2023, at which time the agency will either continue, discontinue, or be expanded by the General Assembly pursuant to § 13-94-111, C.R.S. (2019).
The Colorado Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) shall provide guardianship services; gather data to help the general assembly determine the need for, and the feasibility of, a statewide office of public guardianship; and that the office is a pilot program, to be evaluated and then continued, discontinued, or expanded at the discretion of the general assembly in 2023.
The proposed Bill SB23-064 to Continue the Colorado Office of Public Guardianship was introduced to the Colorado General Assembly in January 2023. The bill extends the office indefinitely and requires the office to operate in every judicial district in the state by December 31, 2027.
The Mission of the Colorado OPG is to provide guardianship services for indigent and incapacitated adults, within the targeted judicial district, when other guardianship possibilities and exhausted. If Colorado adults lack willing and appropriate family or friends, resources to compensate a private guardian, and access to public service organizations that offer guardianship, the Colorado OPG Pilot Program provides guardianship services to secure the health and safety of these individuals while safeguarding their individual rights and preserving their independence wherever possible.
Dignity: At-risk adults are treated with individual dignity and respect.
Self-determination: The concerns and decisions of at-risk adults are, to the greatest extent possible, considered with the assistance to regain or develop capacities and participate in supported decision-making and person-centered planning.
Access and Quality: At-risk adults should receive timely access to appropriate services, consistent with best practice, to ensure personal safety and well-being.
Collaboration: The Colorado OPG actively seeks collaborative relationships with governmental and community stakeholders to maximize resources and support continuous improvement of policies and processes.
Accountability and Transparency: Outcomes of the Colorado OPG are defined, documented and made available to the Colorado General Assembly and the public, as required by statute, accurately and on a timely basis.
The Colorado OPG will serve at-risk adults, within the targeted judicial district, with dignity and collaborate with stakeholders to assist in ensuring individuals receive appropriate public guardianship services. The Colorado OPG Pilot Program will educate stakeholders of the value and dignity of at-risk adults to consistently implement least restrictive alternatives and supportive decision-making to ensure the appropriate level of public guardianship is tailored on an individual basis.