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Implementation of a Conditional Guardianship: Improving the Independence for Colorado Adults With Mild to Moderate Cognitive Disabilities

This paper addresses the current Colorado guardianship system's inability to fully support the current capabilities of all adults with mild to moderate cognitive disabilities. Improvements to technologies and medical therapies have improved the capabilities of this population and the laws must adapt to this population's changing needs. This paper discusses Colorado's existing system, how the existing system does not meet the needs of many people with cognitive disabilities, and proposes model legislation that addresses the gaps in the current guardianship system. The proposed legislation is designed for mildly to moderately cognitively disabled adults who want and are capable of independence with occasional support. The proposed law would fit into the existing guardianship system and create a less restrictive guardianship option for the mildly to moderately cognitively impaired. For the purpose of brevity, this paper focuses on the proposed law benefiting the population of adults with Down Syndrome; but this law could include the rest of the cognitively disabled community such as adults experiencing autism, cerebral palsy, or the early stages of dementia.

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