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