Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices

The Arc Gateway and the Area 1 Family Care Council sponsored the “Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices” presentation by Jonathan Martinis, Senior Director for Law and Policy at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, at the Pollak Training Center in Pensacola last month.

Martinis discussed how supported decision-making is an alternative to guardianship, but it is more than that. It is also a means to increase individual self-determination.

He emphasized the need to find a way to provide the assistance people want and need while helping them stay in control of their lives. Less restrictive alternatives or time limited guardianships can be created and make the most of an individual’s capabilities and supports. It is the guardian’s job to maximize the person’s independence and self-determination. Martinis said, “Supported decision-making only works if we recognize, respect, and protect everyone’s right to make choices.”

Jonathan Martinis presented to Family Care Council members, providers, professionals, and family members.