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L.I.S.A Inc
LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Monday, June 11 2012

A regular three year old child is seen by common law as vulnerable, and in need of parents to legally protect the child’s best interests. Parents, therefore, have the necessary legal power to make decisions on behalf of the child – the vulnerable person.

When the child reaches the age of 18 years, he or she is considered by common law to have the necessary ability to protect themselves and manage their own affairs – They are now known as an adult.

Although, so far, we have common sense, common law, it is no longer so for those who do not fit the regular mould for which common law was written – adults with limited intellectual capacity due to intellectual or multiple disability.

In total contrast to the regular 3 year old, a 33 year old with the intellectual ability of a regular 3 year old, is given legal adult status under common law. This status is the basis on which applications for guardianship in Victoria are based.

A guardianship application is considered by VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) under the Guardianship and Administration Act (“the Act”). VCAT considers the application mainly under three key factors, and within the common law adult status.

These key points are in Section 22 of the Act, being: (a) the person has a disability, (b) the person is unable by reason of their disability to make reasonable judgements in respect to all or any of the matters relating to her or his person or circumstances and, (c) is there a need for a guardian.

Most applying for guardianship can meet 22 (a) and (b) quite easily. Section 22(c) is that which provides the overwhelming ability of VCAT to protect the vulnerable to be vulnerable.

If the parents of a regular three year old were subjected to 22(c) in the way VCAT apply it, the regular three year old would, as a result, have no parents.

VCAT uses Section 22(c) as a tool in an attempt to allow a legal adult some freedom from parental control. This is fine, where realistically possible. And it is not realistically desirable when a person has such limited ability to make them extremely vulnerable

Rather than use Section 22(c) as the sole filter, VCAT needs to place the guardianship applicants under far more regular scrutiny to ensure they consistently have the right attitude, approach and actions towards the person for whom they are seeking whole of life guardianship or being whole of life guardians – plenary guardians.

The Guardianship & Administration Act

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, June 10 2012

Adults in Victoria who are unable to manage their financial affairs, through having limited intellectual capacity due to intellectual or multiple disability, may have an administrator appointed by VCAT (Victorian Civil and Administrive Tribunal), under the ‘Guardianship and Administration Act, 1986 (“the Act”).

The tribunal encourages parents/families, but not service providers to take on this role due to their potential conflict of interest. Where there is no suitable person/s, ‘State Trustees’ take on the role of the person’s administrator, at a cost.

Although an administrator has extensive powers under the ‘Guardianship and Administration Act, they have no legal right to check the integrity of their person’s property!

Administrators are empowered to purchase, and/or provide the finance for the purchase of goods and services for the person for whom they are administrator, Yet, they are not empowered, under the Act, to check the integrity of the goods and services provided for, and to their person.

The most common example of the need for an administrator to check the integrity of their person’s property, is where their person is living in a supported accommodation group home (shared supported accommodation).

Most residents of supported accommodation group homes have little or no ability to adequately monitor the integrity of their property. Personal effects are, by the very nature of the living situation and the owner’s limited ability, very vulnerable to loss and damage – especially clothing. In most circumstances where parents are administrators, service providers permit them to regularly check on the integrity of their family member’s personal effects – especially clothing.

But they don’t have to, unless the parent is a guardian – especially a plenary guardian.

The service provider can support their resident’s human rights, as a legal adult, to exclude or restrict parents and others from interfering in the life of an adult person - claiming, ‘client’s choice’. It is their client’s choice not to have parents checking on their resident’s clothing and personal effects, they might say.

In most group homes, the integrity of residents’ clothing is a major problem for direct care staff, especially those who see their residents being well dressed, as a major factor in quality of life care. Clothing going missing, needing repair and needing replacement are all major concerns for direct care staff. So most welcome good parent/family involvement.

The Guardianship & Administration Act

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 17 2011

No matter the capacity of your son or daughter with an intellectual or multiple disability, your official parental powers are taken from you by common law! At 18, your family member is an adult by common law!

You no longer have any rights!

Problems can manifest in many ways. Banks may not accept you represent your family member, Health funds may not accept you, service providers can be difficult.

If you wish to continue to protect your vulnerable family member, as you did before they were 18, in the State of Victoria, you need “Plenary Guardianship and Administration” under the Guardianship and Administration Act - through VCAT.

If your family member has sufficient capacity, you can get Enduring Power of Guardianship and Enduring Power of Attorney (Finance and Medical). Check it out with your lawyer!

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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LISA Inc   ~   Phone: 03 9434 3810   ~   Email:   ~   Address: 73 Nepean Street Watsonia VIC 3087

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