Developmental Disability

A person with an intellectual or developmental disability may sometimes need a guardian in adulthood

In New York, some adults may therefore be provided with a guardian under Article 17A under the Surrogate's Court Procedure Act and some with a guardian under Article 81 of the New York State Mental Hygiene Laws.

Article 17-A was enacted to provide a way for the parents of a disabled child or minor to continue to make decisions for them once their child reaches adulthood. The powers and authority that a parent held before the age of majority were continued for the rest of their child’s life.

Article 81 was enacted to provide for persons who in their adulthood have lost or have a diminished “capacity” to care for themselves, and requires a determination of functional “incapacity," and other factors before a guardian can be appointed. The Article 81 statute provides for a much greater level of self-determination and autonomy for an individual than under Article 17A.

Project Guardianship provides services to clients under the Article 81 statute. 

Government Programs Supporting Individuals Living with Disabilities

The following are some of the multiple government agencies and programs that support persons living with disabilities:

  • Independent Living Programs – U.S. Health and Human Services  created the Administration for Community Living Independent Living Programs and Centers for Independent Living programs to support community living and independence for people living with disabilities across the nation based on the belief that all people can live with dignity, make their own choices, and participate fully in society. These programs provide tools, resources, and supports for integrating people with disabilities fully into their communities to promote equal opportunities, self-determination, and respect.
  • Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As) – P&As work at the state level to protect individuals with disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf. There are 57 P&As in the United States and its territories, and each is independent of service-providing agencies in their states. P&As are dedicated to the ongoing fight for the personal and civil rights of individuals with disabilities. P&As provide legal support to help individuals navigate the legal system to achieve resolution and encourage systems change. P&As ensure that individuals with disabilities can exercise their rights to make choices, contribute to society, and live independently.
  • Client Assistance Programs (CAPs) - The Client Assistance Program (CAP) provides information, advice and advocacy to help people with disabilities get rehabilitation services from the Department of Rehabilitation, such as training, education and a job. In addition, CAP advocates to protect the rights of people who receive or need services from Independent Living Centers, or other Rehabilitation Act partners.
  • See Guardianship Article 17-A, Article 81, AVVO Legal Guide

  • See Centers for Independent Living (CIL's)/Independent Living Programs

  • See State Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&As)

  • See Client Assistance Programs (CAPs)