Creation and sustainability of state groups to advance adult guardianship reform was a key recommendation of the 2011 Third National Guardianship Summit sponsored by the National Guardianship Network.
WINGS are court-community partnerships that can drive changes affecting the ways courts and guardians practice, and improve the lives of people who need help in decision-making. What distinguishes WINGS from previous state task forces on guardianship is:
(1) WINGS is broad-based and multi-disciplinary, including judges and court staff, the aging and disability networks, the public and private bar, mental health agencies, advocacy groups, medical and mental health professionals, service providers, family members and individuals affected by guardianship, and more.
(2) WINGS is an ongoing, consensus-driven, problem-solving mechanism. It offers a permanent forum for considering how adult guardianship is working in the state, where the pressure points are, and what solutions might work.
The National Guardianship Network has played a leading role in supporting state WINGS groups. At the 2011 Third National Guardianship Summit, sponsored by NGN, participants recommended that state courts create WINGS to advance guardianship reform. In 2013 and 2015, NGN sought funding to launch selected state WINGS.
In 2013, with funding from the State Justice Institute (SJI), NGN selected four states to receive technical assistance and support in creating and sustaining a WINGS group (NY, OR, TX, and UT). In 2015, with SJI and supplemental funding, NGN named five additional WINGS states (DC, IN, MN, MS, and WA). In its FY 2016 grants, the State Justice Institute provided support to the Guam Judiciary for a WINGS group.
In 2016, the U.S. Administration on Community Living made a grant to the ABA Commission on Law and Aging to establish, expand and enhance state WINGS; and the ABA made subgrants to seven state courts (AL, AK, FL, ID, IN, OR, UT).
Other states also have created such consensus and problem-solving groups, making a total of 25 states with some form of WINGS or a similar entity – varying in level of activity, breadth of stakeholders and objectives. The experience of these initial states can help other states create similar networks. Find out where your state stands!
The Social Security Administration has designated a regional liaison for each of the ongoing state WINGS groups, to enhance coordination between state courts with guardianship jurisdiction and the SSA representative payee program.