1988 Wingspread Conference
In 1988, following the release of the historic 1987 Associated Press report on Guardianship of the Elderly: An Ailing System, the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law sponsored a landmark multidisciplinary guardianship symposium at the Wingspread conference facility in Wisconsin. The Conference assembled 38 multidisciplinary experts from across the country, who agreed on 31 sweeping recommendations. The Wingspread recommendations became a fundamental element in reform of the system to better preserve the rights while providing for the needs of society’s most vulnerable at-risk adults.
2001 Wingspan Conference
Over a decade after the Wingspread Conference, a second national conference entitled “Wingspan” assessed progress in the interim and offered recommendations for the future. Over 80 national experts gathered at the Stetson College of Law in Florida to take a hard look at the adult guardianship system.
Primary sponsors of the Wingspan Conference were the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; Stetson University College of Law, host of the conference; and the Borchard Center on Law and Aging, a program of the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation. Co-sponsors included the ABA Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly, the National College of Probate Judges, the Supervisory Council of the ABA Section on Real Property, Probate and Trusts, the National Guardianship Association, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the Arc of the United States, and the Center for Social Gerontology.
The Wingspan Conference produced 68 key recommendations in law, practice, education and research.
The recommendations, an introduction, seven key law review articles prepared for the conference, and two additional comments are included in Wingspan – the Second National Guardianship Conference, at 31 Stetson Law Review, No. 3, Spring 2002
2004 Wingspan Implementation Session
In 2004, the National College of Probate Judges, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the National Guardianship Association held a joint meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on implementation of the Wingspan recommendations, which resulted in a set of Action Steps.