The OPGC program is currently at full caseload capacity statewide and unable to take on any new clients at this time. Due to a high number of cases on our waitlist, we were forced to stop accepting new referrals to be waitlisted in July 2019. Action by the legislature will be needed to expand the program before additional clients can be served.
The Oregon Public Guardian and Conservator Program (OPGC) serves as court-appointed, surrogate decision makers for adults incapable of making some or most of the decisions necessary for their basic care and safety. The Oregon Public Guardian is the guardian of last resort and only serves when there is no less restrictive option available for addressing a serious safety risk and no appropriate alternative guardian is available.
Guardianship is one of the most severe restrictions on an individual’s right to self-determination and should never be considered lightly. Under guardianship, a person loses the right to make decisions about their own lives. A guardian has the authority to determine where someone lives, what services they receive, who their doctor is, what medical care and procedures they receive, how their income is spent, who may visit them and many other decisions that most people take for granted. Guardianship should only be considered as an option if all other less restrictive alternatives have been attempted and failed, or evaluated to be non-viable.
OPGC follows nationally recognized guardianship standards. All OPGC professional staff are National Certified Guardians by the Center for Guardianship Certification(CGC). OPGC follows the National Guardianship Association (NGA) model practice standards and ethical principles.
Oregon has a very high need for and lack of public guardian services. In 2012, thePublic Guardian and Conservator Task Force estimated that between 1,575 and3,175 adult Oregonians are incapacitated and need but lack services, and that this population is growing. With current resources, OPGC only has caseload capacity for approximately 80 clients.
When OPGC has open caseload capacity, that capacity is still highly limited and OPGC must prioritizes the cases of individuals at high risk of harm. To be considered for Oregon Public Guardianship an individual must fall into one of the three priorities list below:
1) Individual sat imminent or ongoing chronic risk of serious harm or death due their circumstances and incapacity;
2) Individuals momentarily safe, but currently held in a medical or psychiatric hospital and unable to safely discharge without the oversight of a guardian;
3) Individuals currently living in an independent living situation (own home or rental) who will not be able to safely maintain in that living situation on their own, but could continue to do so safely with guardian oversight.
Prospective referrals are screened by OPGC. In addition to the priority criteria all prospective cases must meet the following requirements:
Chris Rosin was appointed as the Oregon Public Guardian & Conservator in September 2017. Chris has experience as a Deputy Public Guardian and Adult Protective ServicesSpecialist. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law and is an active member of the Oregon State Bar. Chris has a passion for advocating for our society’s most vulnerable, and leads the OPGC program with a focus on supporting the clients served to have the most independence and self-direction of their own lives that is safely possible.