Grand jury praises county public guardian office

After an investigation of the Madera County’s Public Guardian Office, the 2016-2017 Madera County Grand Jury feels the department’s staff is to be commended for diligent and compassionate case management.

The public guardian/conservator/public administrator office serves some of the most vulnerable residents in the county and is charged with ensuring the financial and personal safety of persons unable to care for themselves. When the Madera County Superior Court determines there is no able person to provide care, or the person in question is unable to properly care for themselves and/or their finances, the public guardian is ordered to act as conservator of the person and or the estate.

Most of the Public Guardian clients are poor with negligible estates. Many have dementia, are elderly and frail, reside in nursing homes and have no family.

The objective of the grand jury was to learn of the services provided, the clientele served, and the structure and staffing of the department.

The interim department’s director is Hubert “Hub” Walsh, Jr. (formerly Kelly Woodard) who also serves as the county’s public guardian/ conservator/ public administrator. The chief deputy public guardian is Mardelle Temby-Chinn. Blanca Garza serves as the deputy public guardian and Jeanette Garcia is the department’s program assistant.

For its report, the grand jury interviewed department leaders, reviewed organizational charts, the department’s policy and procedure manual, budget proposals and client profile data.

The department’s 2016 annual report to the Madera County Board of Supervisors shows the office managed 225 active cases in the month of July 2016.

Findings of the jury included:

The Public Guardian caseload is increasing and will likely continue to grow.

Caseworkers diligently search for family or others qualified and willing to manage affairs of those who are unable to do so.

Public Guardian caseworkers are in compliance with certification requirements as mandated by the continuing education statute.

The complete report can be seen at madera-county.com - search grand jury.

Staff Report