True Link announced today that it has opened 2019 submissions for its annual Scholarship to Promote Best Practices in Guardianship. The award is given to a field builder – someone actively involved in advancing the field through the implementation and dissemination of best practices in guardianship or conservatorship.
The scholarship includes $2,500 to be used for activities devoted to sharing best practices in guardianship, which could include traveling to present best practices at conferences or to other organizations; developing webinars to share valuable knowledge; trainings to strengthen partnerships; contributing to the enhancement of standards and oversight systems; conducting a pilot project; and other, similar endeavors. We believe these opportunities to share expertise will enhance the quality of services for people under guardianship and support their independence.
Guardianship at its best provides necessary and often lifesaving support for people in complex situations – ensuring, for example, that individuals will receive the food, housing, and medical care they need but might not be able to consistently obtain for themselves. Currently, about 1.3 million Americans are served by guardians or conservators. However, as more people live longer lives and have increasingly complex needs, the demand for highly qualified, dedicated guardians and conservators is likely to expand. Field builders have the opportunity to shape the next generation of guardians and conservators and the systems that support and enable their work.
At True Link, we recognize the value that sharing best practices has in strengthening our nation’s systems overseeing guardianship and conservatorship. “Because these professionals are in a position of trust, high standards are necessary. Incidents of poor ethics and abuse not only betray the trust of the individual client, but also set back the entire profession – making it less likely that others will get the services they need. Leaders in the field believe it is necessary to build systems to promote ethical conduct, ensure proper oversight, and prevent abuse, and that’s why we’re honored to offer this scholarship,” said True Link CEO Kai Stinchcombe.
In 2018, True Link was delighted to present the scholarship to Emily Smith, Executive Director of the Wyoming Guardianship Corporation, the state’s only nonprofit specializing in both life and financial management services. Emily is a Certified Social Worker in Wyoming and a Nationally Certified Guardian by the Center for Guardianship Certification. She sits on the Wyoming State Adult Protection Team and the Governor’s Elder and Vulnerable Adult Task Force. Emily also speaks nationally about self-determination and person-centered services, and, during her tenure at WGC, she has built the state’s major guardianship and representative payee programs.
With the scholarship, Emily is creating a webinar to make training rooted in the National Guardianship Association’s Standards of Practice accessible to family and volunteer guardians in frontier and rural areas. It will be released publicly in the coming months. Emily draws on 20 years of experience working with a diverse population of people who have disabilities, including serious mental illness, substance abuse disorders, intellectual disability, Alzheimer’s, and other dementias.