Protecting the vulnerable

Published 11:05 am Thursday, June 19, 2014

When the legislature returns to work after summer break, members should support the efforts of two of their colleagues to fix the state’s broken guardian system, as uncovered by a recent five-part Dispatch series.

Protecting the elderly and disabled from abuse is not a partisan issue, or even a debatable one. It’s a matter of basic decency and justice.

Sen. Shannon Jones, R- Springboro, and Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, R-Marysville, say they will push for new laws and, if necessary, a statewide guardianship system to protect people.

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They’ve already have met with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and plan to bring judges and advocates together to fashion a solution. This is a smart approach.

Fixing this system won’t be easy. It will require more than legislative rules. It will take financial commitments from elected leaders, expertise from the community and the willingness to try new approaches.

The system, if it can be called that, grew up fragmented among 88 counties. This argues for a fix that applies to all courts….

The Ohio Supreme Court could, of course, do some of this heavy lifting on its own. It has had a committee studying guardianship issues for eight years, but its recommendations seem too modest to address the pervasive problems in the system….

Last year, 24 states enacted laws for stronger oversight of guardianships.

Ohio’s courts, legislature and social-service experts should work closely to make the state a leader in protecting its most vulnerable residents in the guardianship system.


The Columbus Dispatch