Advocacy and Alliances

How Project Guardianship is meeting the rapidly growing need for support

The current guardianship system in New York is at a breaking point with a rapidly growing need, a lack of capacity, strains on our healthcare system, and the growing costs of government support.

Drawing on our direct service experience, Project Guardianship seeks to influence policy and practice that impact people in the guardianship system, both statewide and nationally. We educate decision-makers at the local, state, and federal levels about the current gaps in care, the growing population in need of guardianship, and practical approaches for addressing them.

We are shining a light on the gaps in the guardianship and elder services safety net. Through research and policy change, we seek to promote models that address critical needs for individuals, save public dollars, and allow key governmental institutions to operate more effectively.

See our 2022-2023 Policy Agenda

Specifically, our policy efforts include:

  • Advocating for policy changes that will create and fund a diverse spectrum of guardianship providers to meet the varied and individual needs of all New Yorkers in need of a guardian.
  • Conducting research to identify geographic areas and population groups in New York State that are underserved by guardianship services.
  • Conducting research on the cost savings that comprehensive guardianship services can provide to government programs, especially Medicaid.
  • Advocating for integrated services across the legal, healthcare, housing, banking, and mental health sectors, and increasingly addressing the intersections of mental health and guardianship due to issues such as medication noncompliance, hospitalizations, hoarding, evictions, homelessness, and criminal justice system involvement.

We engage leaders from healthcare and other government-affiliated service delivery systems to find sustainable ways to improve the guardianship system, and advocate for a too-often invisible population lacking a voice in how society will provide for them.

Project Guardianship was founded to create a solution to the injustices in the guardianship system. We designed and demonstrated a working model of providing guardianship that maximizes autonomy and engages the client in decision-making. Now, we are working to expand upon our model and advocate for a reformed guardianship system to ensure high-quality guardianship available to all, and other supportive networks for individuals with disabilities and mental health disorders.

In the wake of COVID, and the high death toll among the elderly, particularly those living in nursing homes and institutions, we are working with a coalition addressing the need for better nursing home standards, reporting, and accountability.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Guardianship is not always the optimal solution. Project Guardianship advocates to address shortfalls in the older adult and persons with disabilities safety net, and to support solutions and alternatives to guardianship, whenever appropriate.

These solutions may include supported-decision-making plans, and elder care and estate planning tools such as health care proxies and powers of attorney. These tools are underused and also not easily accessible to persons who may benefit from employing these options in future years, this is particularly true for persons in lower economic brackets, people of color, and immigrants.

Connecting Stakeholders

To create a better guardianship system, Project Guardianship is building strategic alliances across New York City, New York State, and the U.S. We are partnering with elder care and adult disability organizations, legislators, advocates, service providers, and other stakeholders to examine and improve the current guardianship system.

For more information, contact Deena Schwartz, Director of NYS Guardianship Initiatives at Project Guardianship,

Join the Project Guardianship mailing list

Article 81 Guardianship Advocacy and Discussion Group

A listserv has been created for the Article 81 Guardianship Advocacy and Discussion Group to provide a forum for professionals involved in Article 81 Guardianship to communicate ideas and to raise questions pertaining to all aspects of Article 81 Guardianship and its relationship to other fields (e.g., mental health law, landlord-tenant law, Medicaid, and managed long-term care). Members of the listserv are encouraged to post topics and discussions related to guardianship or its intersection with related fields, or to issues with their own cases.

The Article 81 Guardianship group is a resource that connects our community and educates us about the problems and solutions engendered by Article 81 Guardianship work.

The group is open to guardians, legal advocates, court examiners, court evaluators, and other Article 81 service providers.

Join the Article 81 Guardianship Advocacy and Discussion Group listserv

For more information, contact