The Public Guardian protects and cares for those who cannot properly provide for their personal and/or financial needs alone. It works to make sure people can live safely and with dignity through a process called "conservatorship," which provides support including housing or hospitalization, medical care and psychiatric treatment. The Public Guardian acts as a conservator when no other potential conservator or alternative to conservatorship can be found.
Who needs the services of the Public Guardian?
The Public Guardian protects people in our community who are unable to properly care for themselves or manage their finances. These people generally fall into two categories: Older, frail and vulnerable adults who are at risk or have been victims of abuse or neglect, and people who have a mental disorder and are not able to provide for food, clothing or shelter and have no other source to meet those needs.
What is a conservator and what does a conservator do?
The most important role of a conservator is to provide safety, placement and financial support to the people we serve. When appointed conservator, the Public Guardian is responsible for making sure the conservatee has proper food, clothing, shelter and health care. Depending on the conservatee's ability to understand and make decisions, the Public Guardian may receive authorization from the Court to make medical decisions for the conservatee.
Every conservator is supervised and held accountable by the court that appointed them. Without a court's permission, a conservator of a person is not allowed to:
- Move the conservatee to a different state
- Place the conservatee in a mental health facility
- Consent to or refuse medical treatment
How does the legal process of conservatorship work?
Conservatorship is a legal status in which the court declares an individual unable to take care of himself or herself. The court appoints another person, known as a conservator, to do so. The process of obtaining conservatorship is deliberate, detailed and intricate. It is the option of last resort when all other avenues have been tried for people who have been determined by the courts to be incapable of caring for themselves. Conservatorship requires a court hearing with all interested parties present. If the person cannot afford an attorney, he or she can obtain representation through the public defender. If the conservatorship is established, the individual or conservatee loses many civil rights most of us take for granted. He or she may lose the right to decide where they'll live or what medical treatment to accept or refuse. They may lose the right to control their assets or manage their income.
Shasta County's Public Guardian
Our team includes five compassionate professionals and an excellent support staff led by Amparo Buck. You may contact us at (530) 225-5103 or visit our offices at 2640 Breslauer Way in Redding.
Services provided by the Office of the Public Guardian are authorized by California statute and monitored by the Probate Division of the Superior Court of California.