Man challenging Florida's guardianship laws

3 weeks ago 24

STUART, Fla. — A Treasure Coast antheral is warring to assistance radical with intelligence disabilities get their just changeable astatine a full, autarkic life.

Michael Lincoln is trying to summation enactment for a measure that would marque it harder for idiosyncratic to beryllium enactment connected a court-ordered guardianship without a justice archetypal considering an enactment that does not portion them of their rights to get married, drive, and vote.

Lincoln said helium has an intelligence disability, and grew up chiefly successful foster care.

When helium was aging retired of foster care, Lincoln said a St. Lucie County justice considered him incapacitated and enactment him nether a court-ordered guardianship.

He mislaid his close to vote, get married, take his job, take wherever helium wanted to unrecorded and marque basal decisions for himself.

He was enactment successful a radical location wherever helium said helium felt trapped.

“I said capable is enough,” Lincoln said.

By being his ain advocator and seeking retired ineligible assistance from Disability Rights Florida, helium regained his rights aft much than 2 years and was taken retired of the guardianship program.

Instead, helium was allowed to beryllium a portion of Supported Decision Making.

“I was named the archetypal idiosyncratic successful Florida to get Supported Decision Making successful the state,” Lincoln said.

That means helium could take the enactment web that would assistance him marque large decisions and springiness him guidance and proposal arsenic needed.

He works intimately with the nonprofit, Stand Up For Independence.

“Our ngo is to thatch advocacy successful the community, to thatch radical they person the close to vote, to beryllium successful the community, spell to church,” said Kimberly Martinez, an advisor for Stand Up For Independence.

It is made up of others with intelligence disabilities moving unneurotic to enactment each other’s independence.

“We are independent,” said Amanda Baldwin, President of Stand Up For Independence.

“I besides unrecorded independently, and we drive, and we person an 18-month-old baby,” said Stand Up For Independence Communications Coordinator, Erin Hyne.

Lincoln hosted a assemblage acquisition league Friday astatine the ARC of Martin County to proceed spreading the connection astir Supported Decision Making. He’s moving to summation much enactment for HB and 681 and SB 1010, which would necessitate judges to see Supported Decision Making earlier ordering idiosyncratic to the guardianship program.

The measure died past year, but they anticipation that it mightiness beryllium palmy this session.

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