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Resource ID: #28638
Subject: Courts
Source: Staff
Affiliation: ABC Action News
Date: February-December 2019

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Description

Our year-long investigation uncovered troubling flaws in Florida's court-appointed guardianship system, including guardians requesting do-not-resuscitate orders for people in their care without permission from the courts or families, hospitals using guardianship remove patients from beds and a huge investigative backlog at the state watchdog agency assigned to police it all. Florida’s public guardianship system is intended to protect seniors who have been declared incapacitated by a court and have no one to care for them. But it’s also a system ripe for abuse. Those in guardianship have no rights and guardians are only required to complete a 40-hour course before taking over people's lives. The ABC Action News I-Team uncovered a broken system, in which guardians made life-or-death decisions for the people under their care without consulting family members or judges. We also uncovered guardians isolated and financially exploited those they were supposed to protect. While the state has an office that is supposed to investigate complaints against guardians, these investigations remained open for as long as years at a time and even after when that agency’s own investigators found allegations against a guardian were true, the office did little to hold guardians accountable. Our investigation has spurred state and federal lawmakers to draft bills that would reform the system and better protect seniors.

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