Reasons to Support AB 1663
Support without Courts
Many people are conserved initially by family members who may know them very well and honor their wishes. However, the court can appoint a new conservator at any time, for any reason. Frequently, the new conservator may be a paid professional who does not know the conserved person at all. AB 1663 provides more options for people with disabilities who need support and requires those alternatives be considered by the judge before they are conserved. Alternatives include supported decision-making, through which people with disabilities can choose trusted supporters to help them understand, make, and communicate decisions. And if someone does get conserved, under AB 1663, their preferences for their conservator must be considered by the court. This helps protect people both within and outside of conservatorship.
Prevents Abuse & Neglect
A conservator can make many kinds of decisions for the conservatee, depending on what powers are given to them. Whenever one person is given power over another person’s choices, there is opportunity for abuse. SDM lets people with disabilities build their own support systems with people they trust, called “circles of support.”
Adapts to the Individual
Like everybody else, people with disabilities are not stagnant. Most people will gain skills over their lifetimes. SDM enables a person to change the amount and kind of support they are getting as they gain skills. By contrast, conservatorship locks a person into the most restrictive kinds of support and usually permanently removes most of their rights to make decisions for themselves.
Allows Changes Easily
Conservatorships are usually permanent and are very difficult to change or remove. Just changing a court-appointed conservator usually requires hiring an attorney, having additional court investigations, and a hearing before a judge. With SDM recognized in law, supporters can be changed or removed with no red tape.
Provides More Choice and Control Leads to Better Outcome
SDM ensures people still have choice, control, and connection to their communities. Research shows that this self-determination leads to better life outcomes. This includes lower levels of abuse and higher likelihood of employment and interdependence.
Protects Those Who Are Unconserved
Many people with disabilities who need a high level of support remain unconserved for a variety of reasons, ranging from a lack of trust in the court system by people of color to a family member being undocumented. AB 1663 puts SDM into law to allow those people to have the support they need while staying out of the courts.
Read about Conservatorship Concerns >>