Supported Decision Making or Guardianship Referrals

Making decisions is a learning process. It is NEVER TOO EARLY OR TOO LATE to start preparing for the “nexts” in life. 


Have YOU been asked to provide information to youth and parents about guardianship and supported decision-making?

Make sure you present ALL options and not just about guardianship. There are a variety of person-centered options for supported decision-making and legal support. 


When youth and their family consider what tools could support them in decision-making, it is important to include the opportunity for growth. 


Sometimes we view tasks as “too difficult to understand or deal with” and decide youth “can’t” learn those skills– so we don’t provide opportunities for learning. In order for young people to become more independent, we need to intentionally explore what they are able to do and what they will need to be able to do. We need to encourage youth to test new skills, take risks, and learn from mistakes (“what might I do differently next time?”). We need to teach them how to evaluate options and to trust in themselves as being capable.

Ask yourself, “Where is this young person in their decision-making skills and what can we do to continue developing those skills?”

Check out these available resources to help youth and families make informed decisions.

Fact Sheet: Least Restrictive Approaches to Supporting Decision-Makers
This resource from the University of Montana Rural Institute describes and compares guardianship with alternative decision-making approaches.

Fact Sheet: Decision-making Considerations at Age 18
Age 18 is the age of majority and when decision-making authority transfers from parents to their child. This factsheet provides some insight into helping make that transition smoother without immediately taking restrictive actions such as guardianship

Understanding Montana Law SB31 and Least Restrictive Options for Decision-Making
It’s important to understand that in Montana, the law says that the court can only approve guardianship if other ways of supporting the adult to make decisions will not work. And, even if the court approves a guardianship, the adult must still be encouraged to build their decision-making skills.

The Center for Parent Information and Resources has a variety of resources in helping prepare yourself AND your teen for reaching the age of majority.

Toolkit: Alternatives to Guardianship (Options, comparisons, and tools)
For many families who have a child with a disability, the topic of guardianship will come up at some point. This toolkit is designed to help explain the options and alternatives to guardianship in Montana.