The practical effect of administrators having no legal right to check their adult person’s property under the Guardian & Administration Act in Victoria. And the power of DHS staff to restrict families.
Over the years the staff of the DHS group home have not let me go through my son’s personal effects - his clothes, mainly.
My son, very much an adult in body, is unable by reason of his disability to make reasonable judgements in respect of all or any matters concerning his personal circumstances and/or estate.
Every time I have asked to do this, the staff told me they will do this, and I will be told what he needs, or will be given a bag of clothes to be repaired. This has gone on for years!
Quite recently a new house supervisor suggested, to my utter surprise and delight, that we should both go through my son’s clothes and see what he needs.
Well, we spent a very productive day sorting through the whole of my son’s clothes, ending-up with 13 (standard green garbage) bags of clothes which were far too small for him, damaged or unsuitable.
Most of the 13 bags were of clothes which were now so small that they must have been there for years – clothes which would fit a small child. Clearly, the various staff, over the years, had sorted nothing and had restricted me from doing so.
In sorting through the whole lot, we put labels on the clothes which were relevant and good, ironed them and put them away. We then discarded the 13 bags to the charity bins.
Over as many years as I can remember, I have been treated like an intruder whenever I go to see my son at his DHS group home. Anytime my son invites me to his room, staff are watching.
Whenever I have suggested to him we really should check his clothes together, he is happy for me to do this. But staff have always told him that his mother is not to touch his personal property.
As my son has a business friend of ours as his administrator, I suggested he should give me authority to check my son’s personal effects for integrity. He said that legally, he does not have the power under the Guardianship & Administration Act to even do this himself.
Finally after much pressure on the DHS, the staff were directed by DHS management to go through my son’s clothes. They found many bags of old clothes which had been thrown under the group home for years. The staff then had the gall to dump these on me, for checking and disposal.
LISA Comment: Under the Guardianship & Administration Act, administrators have no legal right to check the integrity of their person's personal property - clothing, for example.
If the person's family is restricted from doing so, no one independent of the service provider does a check.
State Trustees are administrators for many people. Not only do they, also, have no legal power under the Act, but they have few resources to regularly check the integrity of their clients' personal property.
As Heather discovered when she worked behind the closed doors of group homes, especially DHS group homes, clothing integrity can be very questionable.