The bill creates the office of public guardianship (office) within the judicial department to provide legal guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults who:
- Have no responsible family members or friends who are available and appropriate to serve as a guardian;
- Lack adequate resources to compensate a private guardian and pay the costs and fees associated with an appointment proceeding; and
- Are not subject to a petition for appointment of guardian filed by a county adult protective services unit or otherwise authorized by law.
The office is established as a pilot program, to be evaluated and then continued, discontinued, or expanded at the discretion of the general assembly in 2021. On or before January 1, 2021, the director of the office shall submit a report to the judiciary committees of the senate and the house of representatives. The report, at a minimum, must:
- Quantify, to the extent possible, Colorado's unmet need for public guardianship services for indigent and incapacitated adults;
- Quantify, to the extent possible, the average annual cost of providing guardianship services to indigent and incapacitated adults;
- Quantify, to the extent possible, the net cost or benefit, if any, to the state that may result from the provision of guardianship services to each indigent and incapacitated adult in each judicial district of the state;
- Assess whether an independent statewide office of public guardianship is preferable and feasible;
- Analyze costs and off-setting savings to the state from the delivery of public guardianship services; and
- Provide uniform and consistent data elements regarding service delivery in an aggregate format that does not include any personal identifying information of any person.
The bill creates the public guardianship commission (commission) within the judicial department and charges the commission with appointing a director of the office. The director serves at the pleasure of the commission.
The bill creates the office of public guardianship cash fund (fund) in the state treasury. The fund consists of any money that the office receives from gifts, grants, or donations as well as any other money appropriated to the fund by the general assembly.
The bill requires the director of the office to develop rules to implement the pilot program.
The bill delays the creation of the pilot program and the appointment of the director of the pilot program until the fund receives at least $1,700,000 in gifts, grants, and donations.
The office and the fund are repealed, effective June 30, 2021.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)