Certified Professional Guardian Board (CPGB)
September 15, 2008 Meeting Minutes
Certified Professional Guardian Board
Call to Order
1. Approval of Minutes
A motion was made and seconded to amend the minutes on page 5, the first sentence of the third paragraph so that the sentence reads, “The Board’s duty is to respond to the public’s concerns that guardians are not operating according to required standards of practice.” A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes as amended for the August 4, 2008 Board meeting. The motions passed.
2. Chair Report – Recognition of Departing Board Members
Judge Van Deren provided an update on the Board’s decision to reduce the size of the Board and the nominations for re-appointment of four of the eight Board Members whose terms are expiring. The nominations were delayed as a result of the SCJA’s need to consider the nominations for the two judicial officer seats at its September 12 meeting. Nominations for re-appointment will be sent to the Supreme Court for Ree Ah Bloedow, Judge Prochnau, Judge Wickham and Sharon York.
The four departing Board Members were recognized for their dedicated service to the Board’s mission to improve the practice of professional guardians and protect the vulnerable public. Departing Board Members Mike Longyear, Commission Valente and Suzanne Thompson Wininger were presented with a plaque commemorating their years of service, as well as a letter of recognition and certificate from the Chief Justice. (Department Board Member Hank Hibbard was traveling and unable to attend the meeting). The Board thanked the members for devoting their time and energy over their years of service.
(a) Education Committee
(1) UWEO Guardianship Certificate Program
Judge Wickham reported that he welcomed the enthusiastic students for the first day of instruction in the UWEO Guardianship Certificate Program at the UWEO site in Bellevue. Each student was given an opportunity to share with the group their backgrounds and reasons for choosing to enroll in the program. Backgrounds ranged from Masters degrees in social work to personal experiences as court-appointed guardians for their parents. Though there was not as high a percentage of students from the east side of the state as was hoped, the students were widely distributed along the I-5 corridor.
Deborah Jameson, who is auditing the program for the Board, reported that four of the students are Office of Public Guardianship (OPG) guardians and that at least four others are employed in guardian agencies. The two days of instruction included information on advocacy for the incapacitated person; consideration of alternatives to guardianship; ethical decision-making; effective communication; setting up case files, and researching case information. Students were each assigned to one of the three case studies: “June”, “Tomás”, or “Sarah”. They will work with that case study throughout the program. As part of their assignment for the first week, the students will receive an emergency email alerting them to a change in circumstances affecting their client. The instructors impressed upon the students that they will be provided the tools and taught how to go about meeting challenges and solving problems, as opposed to being given one solution to a specific challenge.
The Certified Professional Guardian Board manual is in the process of being updated by the UWEO Guardianship Advisory Group and should be ready for Board review by the end of the year. The students were provided a printed copy of the current manual and have access to an electronic version of the manual on the program’s website.
(2) Appointment of Education Committee Chair
Judge Van Deren appointed Gary Beagle as Chair of the Education Committee to replace departing Board member Hank Hibbard.
(b) Standards of Practice Committee
(1) Draft Proposed New Disciplinary Regulation (DR) 520
At its last meeting the Board asked the SOPC to draft a regulation addressing the process for randomly auditing the professional guardian’s or professional guardian agency’s timeliness of guardianship case filings. The SOPC presented the draft proposed new DR 520 for Board consideration.
As the Board began discussing the language of the draft regulation, it was noted that the Board should first decide whether it wishes to consider the wording of the regulation at this point, or whether it wishes to solicit comment from the community on the proposal for random audits prior to making a decision on draft language. After proper motion procedure the Board agreed to table the decision whether to move forward with a draft regulation pending further discussion on the language of the regulation.
As this would be a new process for the Board, it was suggested that percentages of matters to be reviewed be deleted to allow the Board the leeway to perform the random review as it deems necessary. It was also suggested that “audit” be used in place of “monitor” in the event the word “monitor” may lead some to believe the review of cases will be an ongoing process similar to that performed by superior courts as part of their guardianship monitoring programs. A proposal was made to add “or other available case information sources” after the reference to “SCOMIS” as the case status reference, which would appropriately include review of the case files at the court or any other reliable sources available. In recognition that superior courts may have different requirements for case filings, it was suggested that the word “statutory” be added before “court filing requirements”. It was noted that there was no reference to informing the court or the guardian of any findings of discrepancies. Staff responded that notification of the court and guardian are part of the Board’s overall grievance process and was not included in this regulation.
After some additional suggested refinements to the wording, a motion was made and seconded to approve for posting and distribution for comment draft proposed new disciplinary regulation 520, including the amendments suggested and accepted during the Board discussion. The motion passed.
Judge Van Deren noted that distributing the draft regulation is a first step so the Board can receive and consider comments from the interested community, and that the issues raised warrant further discussion by the Board.
The draft proposed new disciplinary regulation 520 will be posted and distributed for a comment period closing October 20, 2008. Comments will be compiled and provided to the Board for consideration at its next meeting on November 3, 2008.
Judge Wickham indicated he would like to share the draft regulation with the Superior Court Judges Association (SCJA) Guardianship and Probate Committee (GPC) at its meeting on September 20. Included on the GPC’s agenda is a report by the WSBA Elder Law Section - Guardianship Monitoring Task Force, and consideration of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (interstate transfer of guardianships). Judge Van Deren indicated that the proposed new regulation should be considered part of the statewide guardianship monitoring effort and that the Board is interested in continuing to participate in shaping of guardianship monitoring in the State.
(2) Expiring Letters of Guardianship
Sample expiring letters of guardianship used in Pierce County were provided to the Board in response to interest in the practice expressed at the last meeting. The Board briefly discussed the procedures used in different counties to insure timely filings.
(c) Ethics Committee
Draft Ethics Advisory Opinion (EAO) 2007-003 - Notice Requirements for Change in Guardian Appointment
Judge Wickham, Committee Chair, presented EAO 2007-003 authored by Judge Prochnau. The opinion addresses who should be given notice when a professional guardian petitions for the appointment of a co-guardian or to be discharged and have a standby or successor guardian appointed. The Board discussed the need for an EAO on an issue addressed in statute. After discussing the merits of issuing an EAO to assist certified professional guardians in their practice, a motion was made and seconded to approve EAO 2007-003 as presented. The motion passed.
Judge Van Deren
Board Approved: 11-03-08
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