RD119 - Biennial Report - Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program – 2024

Executive Summary:

The Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program (“Program") operates within the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (“DARS") under Virginia Code section §§ 51.5-149 et seq. The Program provides public guardianship and conservatorship services for adults who are incapacitated, indigent, and without any other proper and suitable person willing and able to serve as their legal decisionmaker.

When a circuit court determines an individual meets the eligibility criteria for public guardianship and/or conservatorship, it appoints one of 12 entities (“Providers") who have contracted with DARS to provide these services. To ensure statewide coverage, each Provider has a designated geographic service area.

The Program currently has capacity to serve up to 1,349 individuals, an increase of 300 since the 2022 biennial report. A total of 214 new clients entered the Program in SFY 2022-2023, while 176 clients exited—165 due to death, and 11 for other reasons.

The majority of clients (58%) live either in sponsored residential homes or group homes. The current age range is 18 to 98, while 46% are between the ages of 60 and 79. Most clients remain in the Program for the rest of their lives; however, the Provider’s multi-disciplinary panel reassesses each client annually to ensure that public guardianship continues to be appropriate. The Program’s contractual and regulatory requirements, technical support, annual training, and monitoring activities help ensure a high level of quality of Provider services. For example, Providers maintain a client-to-staff ratio not exceeding 20:1, and public guardian representatives have face-to-face contact with their clients at least once a month.