The Guardianship Project provides guardianship services for older adults and people with disabilities in New York City who have been determined by a judge to be unable to care for themselves. Project staff include lawyers, social workers, and bookkeepers, who oversee an array of services—including health care, home care, and money management—and help clients to remain independent and engaged in their communities. Our services currently save the state more than $2.5 million annually in Medicaid costs, and as it grows those savings will increase significantly.

A Success Story

Many of our clients are elderly people who would be forced to move into nursing homes or institutions if we were not there for them. With our intensive case management model, we can design and implement an individualized care plan for each of our clients. It is this attention to detail that makes the Guardianship Project unique. The following story is an example of how the Guardianship Project provides assistance to people in need.

When the judge assigned Ms. M’s case to the project, the 94-year-old former nurse had not left her house in years because she easily becomes disoriented when outside her familiar environment. None of her relatives were willing to take on her care, and they were insisting that she needed to be placed in a nursing home. Instead of placing Ms. M in a nursing home, project staff arranged for a reverse mortgage, using the monthly payments to fund a network of home-based services at about half the cost of nursing home care. Staff also found a home care attendant who shares Ms. M’s Caribbean heritage—and could cook foods that she liked—and a doctor who treated her in her own home. Ms. M’s case manager visits her at least once a month. Providing this network of services at home allows Ms. M to stay in her Brooklyn house—the only place where she feels comfortable.

Why We Need This Project

Because there is no public guardianship system in New York State, judges usually appoint attorneys to serve as guardians for elderly people and people with disabilities who have no family member or friend willing to care for them. However, few attorneys take cases where the client has high needs and low assets. The Guardianship Project provides an essential support network for people who require services—regardless of their ability to pay—and helps clients improve their quality of life. Staff visit clients as frequently as needed and are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For more information, please contact Project Director Jacqueline Baillargeon.

The Guardianship Project is located at:

320 Jay Street
4th Floor – Rm#4110
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 2-5106
Brooklyn, NY 11202


The Guardian Reporter, June 2014
In this issue of The Guardian Reporter, the newsletter of Vera's Guardianship Project: Hear from our former project director Laura Negrón as she reflects on her tenure at the project, and from our interim director Olga Perez discussing what lies ahead. Find out how the project's unique,...
Guardianship Practice: A Six-Year Perspective
In 2005, Vera launched The Guardianship Project in New York City in collaboration with the New York State Office of Court Administration to address systemic inadequacies in the practice of legal guardianship for primarily elderly incapacitated people. Poor oversight and the absence of best...
The Guardian Reporter, Issue 1, Summer 2011
In this inaugural issue of The Guardian Reporter, a biannual newsletter produced by Vera’s Guardianship Project: News about the Guardianship Project’s work on behalf of incapacitated elderly and disabled clients Guardianship’s new collaborations with academic institutions and attorneys to further...
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The Obama administration released its budget for fiscal year 2015 earlier this month, and as reported by the National Council on Aging, it contains several changes to how programs affecting seniors are funded, ranging from Medicare adjustments to...
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People with limited capacity and serious medical needs often require guardians to help them navigate the many challenges surrounding health care decisions, finances, and housing. A recent incident in Scottsbluff, Nebraska shows how vulnerable these...
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This week, the New York State court system was selected by the National Guardianship Network (NGN) to receive one of four state court incentive and technical assistance grants to create innovative, consensus-driven Working Interdisciplinary Networks...
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This month, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law’s guardianship clinic published a comprehensive report summarizing the recommendations for best practices reform generated by nearly 100 lawyers, judges, social workers, and other practitioners who...
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By Ashish Kapoor The recent case of 75-year-old Peter Watkins serves as a telling example of why we need better guardianship mechanisms in place to protect both elderly and other adults who have been adjudicated as incapacitated and cannot manage...
Jacqueline Baillargeon
Director, The Guardianship Project
David Francis
Finance Associate, The Guardianship Project
Sara Fulton
Director of Legal Services, The Guardianship Project
John Holt
Deputy Director of Legal Services, The Guardianship Project
Ayanna Pettaway
Case Manager, The Guardianship Project
Andrew Niekamp
Deputy Finance Manager and Operations Manager, The Guardianship Project
Sarah Hadley
Deputy Director, The Guardianship Project