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Description: Many individuals fall under full guardianship without consideration of their ability to make decisions with support. During this session, participants will be updated on the state’s Rethinking Guardianship initiative and how people are avoiding unnecessary guardianships through supported decision-making strategies.

Learning objectives: By end of the presentation, participants will be able to

  1. Describe adult guardianship in NC and list impacts that the NC Rethinking Guardianship initiative is making to the system.
  2. Explain the term “supported decision-making” and how it can be applied to long-term and everyday decisions.
  3. Utilize user-friendly resources about guardianship and less restrictive alternatives.

Headshot of Linda Kendall FieldsTrainer: Linda Kendall Fields, M.Ed., is a Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the Cares Program at the University of North Carolina School of Social Work in Chapel Hill. She has dedicated over 35 years to building communities that are responsive to the needs and contributions of older adults, people with disabilities, and families in Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio, Georgia, and North Carolina.

During her career, Linda has led numerous initiatives aimed at supporting individuals and families living in the community and transitioning to the community from long-term care facilities for government, health care, and nonprofit organizations.

In her capacity at UNC Chapel Hill, she has been facilitating the statewide Rethinking Guardianship initiative since 2016. She also leads the Building Capacity for HCBS through Collective Impact initiative for the NC Money Follows the Person Demonstration Project and assists the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services in improving workforce training and implementing the Dementia Capable North Carolina Strategic Plan.


  • Nwakasi, C., & Restorick Roberts, A. (2018). Challenges of Adult Guardianship. Innovation in Aging, 2(suppl_1), 525–525.
  • Shearer, A. L., Bromley, E., Bonds, C., Draxler, C., & Khodyakov, D. (2022). Improving mental health guardianship: From prevention to treatment. Psychiatric Services, 73(6), 642–649.
  • Werner, S., & Holler, R. (2019). Attitudes toward guardianship, social work goals, and perspectives of disability among Social Work Students. Disability and Rehabilitation, 42(5), 712–721.
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