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Developmental Disabilities Support Programs



MHA’s 17-A Guardianship Program aids families with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Orange County. This service will be provided by Anne Klingner and Sandy Schwartz, MHA’s Guardianship Associates. 

Parents of persons who have developmental disabilities are considered the natural guardians of their children until their 18th birthday. After that, the state considers them to be legally competent adults and able to manage their own affairs. Article 17-A Guardianship is for individuals with developmental disabilities in New York State and is a process by which someone is appointed by a court to make decisions for a person who is unable to make decisions independently. 

Guardianship designates an advocate with the legal authority to make certain decisions on behalf of a person, specifically to manage legal, medical personal and financial affairs. In simpler terms, guardianship allows a parent to continue making decisions for their child even after they turn 18. Article 17-A Guardianship is a Surrogate Court proceeding. The court must be satisfied that guardianship is necessary and in the best interest of the person. 

There is a $300 fee for this service which will be payable to Mental Health Association in Orange County, Inc. at or before the initial meeting with the Guardianship Associate. The fee may be paid by cash, personal check, bank check or money order. The fee covers assistance for 12 months following the initial meeting. If you have not completed the process and need further assistance after 12 months, there will be an additional fee of $75. 

If you require further information about the guardianship program or the process itself, please leave a message at (845) 342-2400 ext.1260.

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