Guardianship Lunch n Learn Seminar with Stephanie Shreter (GAP)

Guardianship Lunch n Learn Seminar with Stephanie Shreter (GAP)

guardianship special needs

On November 5, 2019, the Alpha School provided a Lunch and Learn seminar with Stephanie Shreter from the Guardianship Assistance Program of NJ (GAP). Under New Jersey law, all children are vested with certain constitutional rights once they attain age 18 regardless of the disability.

A legal guardianship is required in order to allow the parents or guardian to continue making crucial life decisions regarding finances, education, and medical issues for the disabled adult. GAP provides affordable legal services for parents of developmentally delayed youth attaining adulthood. The mission of GAP is to assist parents of developmentally disabled young adults in obtaining legal guardianship.

Legal Guardian Checklist

If you are thinking about or planning for the process of becoming your child’s legal guardian in adulthood, here is a checklist of helpful information about guardianship for your special needs child.

  • Becoming the legal guardian of an adult can take away that adult’s legal rights with some variation depending on the circumstances
  • In “general guardianship,” the guardian will take over all legal decisions for the child.
  • In “guardianship over the person,” the guardian will take over certain legal decisions specified in court, but not all decisions for the child
  • Possible guardians may begin the process of applying for guardianship of a child six months before the child turns 18 years old
  • The first step is the filing of the complaint with attached affidavits of two physicians attesting to the fact that your child is unable to make life decisions. It is essential that the two physicians examine your child and sign the certification no more than 30 days prior to the filing of the complaint. If your child is DDD eligible or receiving DDD services you may attach one physician’s certification (within prior 6 months) and a copy of the child’s last IEP (prepared less than 2 years ago)
  • GAP charges a $1,200 flat fee and a $200 filing fee for their services, but some families may qualify for prepaid legal services if they meet certain financial standards
  • Parents, family members, or other caretakers applying for guardianship are listed as the plaintiffs in the court filing
  • Once the complaint has been filed, the court will sign an order setting the hearing date.
  • Children must have their own legal representation in court when you file for their guardianship. The court order will contain the court-appointed attorney to represent your child’s interests. The attorney fees can vary based on the amount of time the attorney spends on the case. You can also request a public defender. There is no fee but the hearing will be delayed. (Depending on which county the case is filed in, a court appearance may not be necessary. Some counties instead reach a decision based on the papers submitted to the Court.)
  • Guardians must take certification of guardianship training before guardianship is granted. Some of this information can be found on YouTube
  • All spouses, ex-spouses, and other caretakers interested in filing for guardianship must prove they have been notified before the court date. Some situations may differ depending on involvement and location of parents
  • Before guardianship is approved, possible guardians must meet certain requirements during a home visit and/or interview
  • Once the court grants the guardianship, you must contact your county’s surrogate’s office to schedule an appointment to be sworn in as the guardian
  • Every year after guardianship is granted, guardians must submit a report of wellbeing to the court to ensure that the child’s essential needs are being met
  • If families move after guardianship is granted, guardians must notify the court and may need to file for guardianship again in the new location
  • If choice of guardians needs to change, families must notify the court and need to complete the entire process of filing for guardianship
john gonzalez supervisor of instruction Alpha School

Alpha School an private special education school in New Jersey

Our Mission at The Alpha School is to help all of our special needs students with the learning, social, language, and behavioral support they deserve. Our highly skilled staff are committed daily to helping each student to becoming the best they can while providing a safe and nurturing educational environment.

We would be more than happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and challenges, so please call us at 732.370.1150, or request a tour of Alpha School of Jackson, NJ located just minutes off of Route 9 and Route 195 in Ocean County.

— John Gonzalez, Principal-Alpha School, Jackson, NJ

About RKS Associates

At all the RKS Schools we pride ourselves in discovery the hidden treasures of all of our students. Our academic and support services are appropriately customized for a student unique and diverse needs so that they can reach their full potential.

Alpha School is part of special needs network of schools located in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean County New Jersey. Since 1980 the RKS Associates schools have been leaders in helping special needs helping students with various disabilities including autism, Down's syndrome, communication, learning, social, behavioral and emotional disabilities. The range of services RKS schools provide is academic instruction and speech, occupational and physical therapies. In addition to Life Skills, Technology, and a full complement of Support Services.

network of special ed schools in NJ