Arkansas guardianship laws, guardianship certificates, guardianships, guardians certificate
By Sarah Schmaltz, Staff ReporterAssociated PressAs the number of guardianship cases in Arkansas climbs, some experts say the state is failing to meet the legal requirements to make it easier for people to stay in their homes.
Under a law passed in 2017, Arkansas residents who have lived in the state for at least three years can request that their guardians make guardianship appointments, usually in the spring or fall.
In some cases, that’s a short wait for a guardian to be sworn in.
The state also allows people to petition for a guardianship if they meet the qualifications.
In 2016, Arkansas officials received more than 100 requests for guardianship petitions, including those for children and adults who were in their teens, 20-somethings and those who had children.
The number of requests for the state’s guardianship rose from 1,819 in 2014 to more than 1,400 in 2017.
But some of the requests were for adults who had had children but did not have guardianship.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services, which oversees the state, has not publicly reported how many requests for new guardians were made this year.
The agency said it does not track how many petitions are received, but it did say in a statement that the state was working to streamline the process.
Last month, the governor signed legislation that would provide people with disabilities more flexibility in how they are designated as guardians of their children.
The legislation requires guardians to submit a letter of intent, a court-approved form that can be signed by a parent or guardian.
The letter of intention is required to designate a guardian as an alternate if the child dies.
The bill passed the Arkansas House and is expected to be sent to the Senate for consideration.
Tate Reeves said in a news release last week that he supports “reforming the guardianship system to make sure that it’s as simple and streamlined as possible for the people of Arkansas.”