Supportive Decision-Making Study (HJR 190, 2014)

Virginia Supported Decision-Making Report-Recommendations

The attached report contains information about the background and context for the alternative to guardianship known as Supported Decision Making. Below is an executive summary that provides specific responses to the three elements of HJR 90 as written.

i) examine the use of supported decision-making for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Commonwealth;
At the present time, the Commonwealth has no official position on Supported Decision Making. Its use as an alternative to guardianship and other forms of substitute decision making is not codified in code, policy, or documents detailing appropriate standards of care. It is not formally or widely used within the Commonwealth at this time. While it is true that the concept of using natural supports, such as family and friends, to aid in the decision making process is discussed as a strategy for implementing guardianship arrangements, this occurs more by happenstance than by any conscious orchestration.

ii) compare the Commonwealth’s policies and practices related to supported decision-making and informed choice to the policies and practices used in other jurisdictions; and
The Commonwealth currently has no defined policies or practices related to Supported Decision Making. Other jurisdictions have no structured mechanism in place to implement the Supported Decision Making model; states are in the process of exploring the utility of the model for their communities. One state is presently conducting research on the application of Supported Decision Making within the disability community. Other countries are exploring the model as well.

iii) after consultation with The Arc of Virginia, Voices of Virginia, the Autism Society, the Down Syndrome Association, the Jenny Hatch Justice Project, and other stakeholders, recommend strategies to improve the use of supported decision-making in the Commonwealth and ensure that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are consistently informed about and receive the opportunity to participate in their important life decisions.

Recommendations based upon consultation with the above referenced agencies may be found at the end of the full report.

Author(s): Prepared by the Secretary of Health and Human Resources – Virginia
Publication Date: November 2014