2018 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 30. Guardian and Ward
§30-6-101. Short title – Purpose – Office of Public Guardian – Powers and duties.
A. 1. This section and Section 4 of this act shall be known and may be cited as the “Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act”.
2. The purpose of the Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act is to, within the budgetary limits specified by the Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act:
a.furnish guardianship services, and information regarding less restrictive alternatives, to all Oklahomans who need them,
b.provide assistance to guardians throughout the state in securing necessary services for their wards, including, but not limited to, removing a guardian or limited guardian, and
c.provide assistance to courts, attorneys, and proposed guardians or limited guardians in the handling of guardianship proceedings.
3. There is hereby created the Office of Public Guardian within the Department of Human Services. Until the expansion of the pilot program established by Section 4 of this act becomes statewide and rules are promulgated by the Commission for Human Services, the Office of Public Guardian, subject to the availability of funds, shall be a source of information and assistance on guardianship and alternatives for the public needing public guardianship services.
B. 1. Upon receipt of recommendations of the evaluating board established pursuant to Section 4 of this act evaluating the pilot project established pursuant to Section 4 of this act which indicates that the expansion of the pilot project on a statewide basis would be economically feasible and practical, the Commission shall promulgate rules for developing a statewide program for public guardianship pursuant to the Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act.
2. Upon promulgation of rules by the Commission, the provisions of this section shall become effective statewide.
C. For the pilot program, and after the program has been expanded on a statewide basis, the Office of Public Guardian shall serve as a public guardian for eligible wards. The Office of Public Guardian shall be a source of guardians, limited guardians, attorneys for guardians and wards. In addition, after the program has been expanded statewide, the Office of Public Guardian shall:
1. Be a source of information and assistance on guardianship and alternatives for the public needing public guardianship services;
2. Establish and maintain relationships with governmental, public, and private agencies, institutions, and organizations to assure the most effective guardianship program for each ward;
3. Have, at a minimum, phone contact with each ward, if capable, every two (2) weeks;
4. Visit each ward at least three times every quarter, with one visit being unannounced;
5. Keep and maintain the following records on all cases in which the public guardian provides guardianship services:
a.itemized financial records,
6. Provide information and referrals to the public regarding guardianship proceedings, but not information that would identify a particular case;
7. Foster the increased independence of the ward, to include termination of the guardianship when appropriate; and
8. Develop and maintain a current listing of public and private medical, mental health, social advocacy, educational, rehabilitative, counseling, therapeutic, homemaking, recreational, financial, and legal services and programs available to assist wards and their families.
D. The Office of Public Guardian may:
1. Contract for services necessary to carry out the duties of the Office; and
2. Accept the services of volunteer workers or consultants and reimburse them for their necessary expenses.
E. For the pilot program and after the program has been expanded on a statewide basis, the Office of Public Guardian may, on its own motion or at the request of a district court, intervene in a guardianship proceeding if the public guardian or a court considers the intervention to be justified because:
1. An appointed guardian is not fulfilling his or her duties;
2. The estate is subject to waste as a result of the costs of the guardianship;
3. A willing and qualified guardian is not available; or
4. The best interests of the ward or the person who is the subject of a guardianship proceeding require the intervention.
F. The Office of Public Guardian, as funds become available, may employ staff and delegate to members of the staff or to volunteers the powers and duties as guardian and other powers and duties pursuant to the Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act. However, the Office of Public Guardian retains responsibility for the proper performance of the delegated powers and duties. All delegations shall be to persons who meet the eligibility requirements of a guardian pursuant to Section 3-104 of Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
G. For the pilot program, and after the program has been expanded on a statewide basis, a public guardian has the same powers and duties with respect to the ward as a private or volunteer guardian.
H. For the pilot program and after the program has been expanded on a statewide basis, a public guardian shall endeavor, for as long as practicable, to find a suitable private or volunteer guardian of the ward. For each ward, the public guardian shall report to the court having jurisdiction of the ward, at least every six (6) months, efforts to find a private or volunteer guardian.
I. For the pilot program and after the program has been expanded on a statewide basis, any district court of this state may order a public guardian to act as full guardian, limited guardian, special guardian, or conservator for a person who is determined under the Oklahoma Public Guardianship Act to be in need of guardian service if no other person or private guardianship association is willing and qualified to perform this function.
Added by Laws 2001, c. 310, § 3, emerg. eff. June 1, 2001.