The Developmental Disabilities, Crisis Prevention and Court Services (CPCS) Team is an integral part of the continuum of services available from Family and Community Services Developmental Disabilities Program. It is the only program serving both children and adults.
The primary duty of CPCS is to provide supports to community members with a developmental/intellectual disability in their various community treatment programs. Another duty of CPCS is to provide court-ordered services to address concerns such as criminal competency, civil commitment, and guardian/conservator needs.
The CPCS Team is focused on the community and values working with our local partners. CPCS provides assistance to individuals with a developmental/intellectual disability and their families in a wide variety of areas. Services range from consultation and referral to training and support services, and can include assisting in placement of those who are experiencing behavioral or medical challenges placing them at risk of requiring higher levels of care. We work with multiple community partners including hospitals, schools, crisis centers, jails, courts, families, mental health agencies, and private providers of DD services. Crisis assistance is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.
The CPCS Team oversee the evaluation of persons seeking guardianship/conservatorship for those with a developmental/intellectual disorder. Idaho Code 66-401 states: “every individual has unique needs and differing abilities, it is the purpose... of this chapter to… permit partially disabled and disabled persons to participate as fully as possible in all decisions which affect them…”
A person with a developmental disability or any person interested in his or her welfare may petition for a finding of legal disability or partial legal disability and the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator per Idaho Code, Section 66-404.
When an examination request for guardianship/conservatorship is received by a court of law, an evaluation is ordered by the court and is conducted by an evaluation committee as defined in Idaho Code, Section 66-402(7). The evaluation committee examines the needs and abilities of the proposed ward as well as the fitness and ability of the proposed guardian/conservator. This committee then renders their opinion to the court as stipulated in Idaho Court Administrative Rule 54.5.
Guardianship is a procedure whereby a competent suitable person or entity is appointed by the Court to make legal decisions for another person, called the “ward”.
Legal guardianship can be used for:
- A child under the age of 18 whose biological parents are unable to provide necessary care, or
- Developmentally disabled or otherwise incapacitated person, who lacks the ability to make informed decisions about care or finances.
Any “interested person” can become the guardian. Most often this will be the spouse, adult child, or sibling of a proposed ward. In some instances, a professional guardian may be appointed as guardian. The selected guardian must file a petition with the Court to have a guardian appointed.
Generally it does not take two people to do the job of one, but under certain circumstances more than one family member can be appointed as a co-guardian. An example would be when both parents are appointed guardians of a developmentally disabled adult.
You should consult an attorney familiar with guardianships to file a petition with the Court to appoint a guardian. The Court will appoint a guardian ad litem attorney to represent the ward and will appoint a person called a court visitor (in adult cases, but not in developmental disability or minor child cases) to investigate the circumstances and file a written report with the Court on whether a guardian should be appointed. A hearing is required before a guardian will be appointed. At that hearing the person petitioning to be the guardian will testify about why a guardian is needed and the plans for the ward’s future care. If the Court appoints a guardian, Letters of Guardianship will be issued.
A guardian takes care of the ward, makes sure the ward has clean clothes, proper food, transportation, medical care and a place to live. A guardian’s rights and responsibilities are much like those of a parent for a child. A guardian generally does not handle the ward’s finances.
No. The law specifically provides that a guardian shall not be liable for the ward’s debts. The guardian is not personally responsible for payment of the ward’s medical and nursing home care, clothing, food, or necessities.
The ward’s assets pay the fees and costs associated with the petition and appointment of a guardian. However, if the ward’s assets are insufficient, the petitioner should be prepared to pay some or all of the fees and costs, or the Court may allocate the fees and costs.
Guardianship does not mean that the ward’s freedom is taken away. Guardianship provides an umbrella of protection for the ward. Guardianship means a competent person is appointed to make sure that the ward has a place to live, meets at least minimum standards for health and safety and is not victimized.
The guardian may have authority to handle the ward’s finances, if they are minimal, usually as a representative payee. Otherwise, a conservator must be appointed to handle the ward’s finances, sell assets such as the ward’s home, make contracts for living arrangements for the ward, and borrow money.
The guardian is responsible for keeping all interested parties informed of the ward’s status. All family members should have a fair opportunity to visit with the ward and stay involved in their own way. The guardian coordinates the family’s effort to care for the loved one.
An attorney appointed by the Court to represent the best interests of the proposed ward in a guardianship proceeding. The guardian ad litem attorney appears in Court on behalf of the ward. The ward’s estate pays for the guardian ad litem attorney, but if the ward’s assets are insufficient, the petitioner should be prepared to pay for the guardian ad litem, or the Court may allocate the fees and costs. The guardian ad litem remains in the case as long as it is open.
The CPCS Team oversees civil commitments and criminal competency issues when required by a court of law. Whenever there is reason to doubt the defendant's (adult or child) fitness to proceed as charged in a criminal case, any court officer can file for a competency evaluation per Idaho Code, Section 18-211. In the case where a defendant has or is suspected of having a developmental/intellectual disability, the competency evaluation is conducted by an evaluation committee as defined in Idaho Code, Section 18-211(9), 20-519a(5), and 66-402(7). The competency evaluation also addresses the defendant's current knowledge of the court proceedings and his or her ability to assist counsel in providing relevant information.
In any event where the evaluation team finds the defendant not currently competent, but believes that he or she may be restored to competence with some training and education, the court may order restoration services which are provided by CPCS in accordance with Idaho Code, Section 18-212 and 20-519b.
In the event that a person is not competent and not restorable, they may be committed to the Department of Health and Welfare under Idaho Code, Section 66-406. In this event, CPCS oversees the individual’s treatment and care for up to three years.