This floor sign stands outside the Denver Probate court, where guardianship hearings are not posted on the docket and the public is not allowed in the courtroom during guardianship hearings.
This appears to be unique to Denver only.
Denver Probate Court, Judge Leith's courtroom, appears to misinterpret the Supreme Court Justice Directive on suppressed court documents.
Judges in other probate courts across the state allow public in the courtroom and only suppress access to court records to "interested parties".
By Maureen Welch, Volunteer Activist
and Registered Volunteer Lobbyist
Content is mine, and protected under First Amendment
March 24, 2019
ALERT: Be aware!
Adult Protective Services are creating false narratives about at-risk adults, accusing families of abuse and neglect. Say nothing and lawyer up. They are showing up at homes, demanding the at-risk adult and forcibly removing them.
There has been an harmful increase statewide, of county Adult Protective Services creating fabricated narratives about at risk adults and their family/caregivers.
There is strong interest to address this overreach and conflict of interest by many at the Capitol and the impacted Intellectually and developmentally disabled, Seniors and LGBTQ+ communities.
At-risk adult means any person who is seventy years of age or older or any person who is eighteen years of age or older and is a person with a disability as said term is defined in subsection (11) of this section. Definition of at-risk adult in statute is here.
These county employees, from APS/Social or Human Services, then use these fictional stories to request "emergency" guardianship hearings in front of a judge. A judge currently can grant emergency guardianship without ever informing the person or their family!
It appears the judges just trust the reports of county APS and don't ask to hear the other side of the story.
Sometimes judges even put in the court order that law enforcement will assist in the removal of the at risk adult!
The trauma, stress and shock for this vulnerable population means APS are the perpetrators of abuse!
The judge often appoints the same county person to serve as both the investigator and guardian. This is a clear conflict of interest.
Soon after the secretive "emergency hearing" that no one knew about, APS has shown up with law enforcement to enter the home and remove the person. They are ripped from loving families and caregivers to unknown placements that often cost their estates or medicare/medicaid much more money.
It is wrong that people are living in fear of being forcibly removed from their homes without any prior warning, reason or opportunity to face a judge.
What year and country is this?
The court appointed attorneys, court visitor, guardian ad litem, and conservator on the case all get paid, either billing the at-risk person's assets or the State.
The assisted living, host home or nursing home charges are forced to be paid from that individuals resources or bill to the state via medicaid.
Yes, this is happening. Initially, I doubted this and didn’t want to believe it either. But, I am contacted weekly with more new heartbreaking cases, from counties large and small.
It is a travesty of civil rights and goes against all the values of our great state and nation.
What you say will be used against you. Cooperation, due to their innocence, has backfired for many loving families.
If someone comes to your door, unless they have a warrant, you are not obliged to answer.
Keep calm and lawyer up. Don't let them in your home without a warrant, don’t share information, and trust your gut.
The new registry of substantiated perpetrators started notifications on January 1, 2019 and has harmed many families. Once on the list, they claim all family are incapable of being trusted. This was designed to keep true perpetrators from working with vulnerable populations but has been used to rip at risk adults from loving family caregivers doing their best, and nothing wrong. Info here.
The number of statewide APS overreach cases is growing daily.
Or if you are able to freely share, come to the capitol and share your stories with legislators and the media.
I will be at the Capitol most days for the next few weeks. I am happy to meet and talk. I will and do maintain confidentiality.
The 2019 session ends May 3.
Contact me if you are in this situation at email@example.com.
View past newsletters on my website www.changecoidd.com under BLOG.
HB19-1045 Office Of Public Guardianship Operation Conditions: Concerning funding for carrying out duties related to the office of public guardianship officially has no funding and was removed from the Long Bill Budget on Friday March 8, 2018 at the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) figure setting hearing.
SOURCE: From the JBC staff document:
REQUEST: The Office of Public Guardianship requests a FY 2019-20 General Fund appropriation of $1,718,786 and 14.0 FTE.
RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends that the Committee not approve this request but instead eliminate the existing $1,718,786 cash fund appropriation and the 14.0 FTE for the Office of Public Guardianship from the FY 2019-20 Long Bill.
From the start, the Office Of Public Guardianship (OPG) Commission violated open records and meetings requirements and treated public stakeholders with hostility.
It is good that the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) realized their failure to succeed with raising funds did not constitute a justification to use General State Funds for this pilot program.
I applaud the careful analysis of the Joint Budget Committee staff and members who recognized the shortfalls of funding this bill for the OPG pilot program.
The most vulnerable at risk adults in Colorado: the elderly, the intellectual/developmentally disabled, and survivors of AIDS/HIV deserve safeguards and oversight with Colorado Guardianship Reform BEFORE launching a huge new empire in the Judicial Branch.
The next Commission meeting for the OPG is on Wednesday March 27, 2019- details and call in phone number are here.
Alert: A new bill signed into law last week by the Governor, which allows information sharing between Child Protective Services and Adult protective services.
A new bill HB19-1063 At-risk Information Sharing Between County Departments was also just signed into law. In its description, it states: The bill allows adult protective services (APS) to access child abuse or neglect records and reports when the information is necessary for APS to adequately assess the safety, risk, or provision of services for an at-risk adult.
I opposed HB19-1063 as there is already over reporting to Child Protective Services of parents with disabilities, children with disabilities and those who are poor or minority.
Now those child protection reports, substantiated or not, can be accessed for use in an Adult Proceeding.
SB19-072 Bill Of Rights Protected Person Under Guardianship: Concerning establishing a bill of rights for persons protected through a guardianship was opposed by the Colorado Bar Association.
Senator Holbert, the bill Prime Sponsor, strongly believes in keeping loving families together. He requested the bill be postponed and that the stakeholders would work on this topic to bring back in the future.
It is wrong that the process for emergency guardianship and special conservatorship can he conducted in secrecy, without any involvement of the at-risk person or their family. The judge relying solely on county staff provided information.
At least two counties, including Denver, do not even post the emergency hearings on the public website dockets and they close the courtroom to the public during emergency hearings.
The climate of fear and secrecy do not build trust. Adult Protective Services is more vested in tearing families apart under guise of "protection".
There is interest by many at the capitol to address the need for a Bill of Rights for Protected Persons, including the at risk Intellectually & Developmentally Disabled, Senior citizens and LGBTQ+ communities.
The motive appear to be to gain control of residential placement, medical decision making and all their finances.
Guardianship is equivalent to Civil Death (meaning one is lacking capacity and has someone else making decisions). One's civil rights must be most carefully respected.
The Colorado Bar Association stated they will commit to collaborative work with Stakeholders for Guardianship Reform. A written commitment is still pending.
Contact me if you are in a situation with your county social services/human services/ Adult Protective Services with overreach at firstname.lastname@example.org.