Guardianship: What is it?

Programs and Services

The Arc of Monroe is Primary Guardian for over 30 people, most of whom live in our residential homes!  We are the second largest Arc Guardianship program in NYS, second only to Westchester County.  Our Guardianship program is used a a model program with other Arc chapters.  New Guardianship advocates from across the state are sent to us for mentoring which is a huge compliment.

When some people think about people with disabilities having a Guardian, they many times picture mom and dad having “control” over their son or daughter’s lives.  This is NOT what Arc Guardianships are all about.

The general mission statement for The Arc New York is as follows:

“The Arc New York’s Corporate Guardianship Program focuses on serving the best interests of the persons for whom The Arc of New York is appointed Guardian, while taking into consideration the personal wishes, preferences and beliefs that will afford each person the greatest amount of independence and participation in decisions affecting their lives.  The Program further seeks to ensure the needs of every person for whom The Arc New York is guardian, will be addressed in a least restrictive  environment while promoting individuality, autonomy, dignity and self worth.”

Guardianship Advocates

Our Guardianship Advocates embody the defining principles of Guardianship for those we support.

  • Guardianship is a continuous life long relationship of trust
  • Guardians have the legal responsibility to advocate ethically, competently  and  in a caring manner to assist  the person at decision points.
  • Guardians offer assistance and intervention in relationship to the person’s capacities for independent decision making.
  • Guardians place the welfare of the person over the welfare of any service provider
  • Guardians encourage independence in seeking quality of life through personal relationships with the person

The Guardianship Advocates are required to complete face to face visits at least eight times a year.  Our program exceeds that and assures we visit people monthly.

Guardianship Committee

Advocates also are required to meet regularly with the Guardianship Committee to review each primary person and to get full consent for anything requiring it.  In reality, the whole committee is really the Guardian of the person!

The committee asks many direct and challenging questions of the Advocates when it comes to every aspect of the person’s life and safety and desires.  We always encourage nursing staff to attend meetings to explain surgeries and other medical procedures/treatments that are proposed.  It is only with a majority vote that these are approved.

Shelley VanLare

Shelley VanLare

Shelley VanLare is a Registered Nurse at The Arc of Monroe.  She has been with The Arc for seven years.  Shelley encourages anyone with questions to email her at