The Arc of New Mexico provides guardianship services to persons with developmental disabilities who live in New Mexico and may not have family or friends to provide support. A staff of professional guardians is available to assist individuals with developmental disabilities with decision-making. They are required to be NGA certified, and the program is required to be audited on an annual basis.
Guardians are always appointed by the state District Court in the county in which the individual under guardianship resides. While guardians ensure and protect a person’s rights, these can be unduly restrictive, limiting a person’s rights and ability to make decisions. The Arc of New Mexico does not petition to become the guardian of any individual. We are available to serve as guardian after a referral and acceptance.
Names of attorneys who can assist with the appointment of a guardian are available from the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC). These attorneys are available in your local area to assist with the petitioning and appointment process at very low cost to persons who are resource- eligible. For more information, please visit the New Mexico Developmental Disabilities Council.
Guardians at The Arc are full-time, certified paid professionals who work with approximately 25 individuals each. Their duties include regular visits and monitoring of each individual’s home and other environments; advocacy for each individual and assurance that programs and services are in each person’s best interest; and assistance for each individual with decision-making at the level that each person requires with a goal of encouraging as much independence and self-direction as possible. As guardians we assure that the individuals we serve are living a happy healthy life and receiving all the services they can either through the Developmental Disabilities Medicaid Waiver or other available resources. We also strive to help our protected people achieve their lifelong goals.
For more information about Guardianship services at The Arc, call (505) 883-4630 or 1-800 356-6493, or by e-mailing the Guardian Program management at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arc Guardianship and Other Resources
The Arc has been providing guardianship for people with intellectual and develpmental disabilities (I/DD) since 1978. In the early days, most protected persons (persons with a guardian) lived at one of the state’s two institutions for people with I/DD; Fort Stanton or Los Lunas. Once these faciities closed in 1996, residents moved to cities and towns all over the state. Today, Guardianship is highly regulated in New Mexico and the role is intended to be taken seriously with considerable responsibility. Currently The Arc can serve up to 180 people statewide from Las Cruces to Taos, and from Clovis to Zuni. Guardianship at The Arc supports individuals to make important life decisions, help guide people with important healthcare decisions, and if needed, end of life planning.
It’s never too early to start building a plan for guardianship or other options to guardianship. We would be remiss to omit important information that individuals and families need to know when it comes to guardianship decisions. The goal is to support the least restrictive environment possible, and life circumstances for individuals who may need a lot of help, or only a little guidance and support.
Understanding Alternatives to Guardianship
As you or your family considers guardianship, there are many things to understand before taking this big step. Including alternatives to a dramatic change in one’s life and the tremendous responsibility with a commitment to guardianship. The Office of Guardianship (OOG) under the DDC provides basic criteria for guardianship eligibility:
Eligibility Criteria for OOG Services
- Adult (age 18 and over);
- New Mexico resident;
- Alleged to be incapacitated; and
- Income eligible.
Click HERE to determine income eligibility.
The Developmental Disabilities Council is a State agency that issues referrals and manages resources for guardianship through the Office of Guardianship. The DDC will also assist you with researching alternatives to guardianship. Information on alternatives can be found HERE.
Visit the Office of Guardianship to learn more.
Information on the Courts
The New Mexico State Legislature passed guardianship reform (new laws) to improve the requirements of guardians and conservators. The New Mexico Courts website provides that “Guardians and conservators are individuals or organizations appointed by a court to make decisions for people incapacitated and unable to manage their finances, property, health care or living arrangements.” The Courts have provided online guidance to all guardians regarding the requirements of the law, and the tools for annual reporting. The new laws also impose fines to guardians who do not report in a timely manner each year. More information, forms, training videos and much more can be found at the New Mexico Courts Adult Guardianship website.