Guardianship program seeking volunteers

For more than 20 years, the Chester County Orphans’ Court has operated a respected program that serves as a watchdog over guardians, and it is seeking volunteers.

“The court appoints a guardian for an individual who is determined by the court to be ‘incapacitated’ within the meaning of the law,” Chester County Orphans’ Court Judge Katherine Platt explained in a county press release. “The standard for that determination is whether the individual’s ability to receive and evaluate information and communicate decisions is impaired to such a significant extent that he or she is unable to manage his or her financial resources, or meet essential requirements for physical health and safety.”

Court officials say that most guardianships run smoothly, but exceptions have occurred over the years. One Chester County woman’s drug-addicted son, who had been appointed his mother’s guardian, began stealing the ailing woman’s money; thanks to the county’s Volunteer Guardianship Program, the thievery was short-lived.

The visits by volunteers assist the court in maintaining some continuing contact with the incapacitated person and his or her guardian. Sometimes a few friendly questions can determine whether a guardianship is functioning properly, court officials say. Moreover, many guardians form lasting bonds with the families they visit and enjoy performing such valuable public service.

Training for the guardian program includes topics such as individual’s rights, Alzheimer’s disease, and information on public agencies that provide the guardianship services. Anyone interested in becoming part of the Orphans’ Court guardian program is invited to take part in a training session that will be held on Tuesday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Chester County Justice Center, 201 W. Market Street, West Chester. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

For more information about the program or to request an application for the upcoming training, contact Diane Mulhearn, the Guardianship Program coordinator, at 610-344-5212 or email



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