When there is no willing or suitable person to act as the guardian for an adult whom the probate court has determined lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate significant responsible decisions concerning health or safety, DHS may be appointed as the guardian of last resort.
The Public Guardianship Office (PGO) of the Division of Aging Services (DAS) is assigned oversight and delivery of guardianship case management services on behalf of DHS. Guardianship case managers act as surrogate decision-makers and advocate for persons under guardianship, and also coordinate and monitor all services needed for the support, care, education, health, and welfare of guardianship clients.
PGO is led by a program administrator and a field operations manager. The program is supported by a resource and training specialist and one program assistant. PGO has three supervisors who manage teams, on average, of 11 case managers.
DHS is not authorized by law to serve as conservators of adults or as temporary medical consent guardians. DHS is mandated to manage certain aspects of public guardianship operations, which include setting standards for criminal and credit history checks on public guardians, maintaining a registry of public guardians, and administering any funds appropriated by the Georgia General Assembly for compensation of public guardians. Although there is no current funding for these operations, PGO is poised to fulfill these duties should funds be appropriated.