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South Carolina Bar develops manual for parents of special needs children

  • Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The South Carolina Bar is pleased to announce that it has developed a handbook for parents of special needs children which addresses guardianship and conservatorship issues that arise as these children turn 18 and become legal adults.

The manual, titled Transitions: Legal Issues for Parents and Caregivers of Special Needs Children Transitioning to Adulthood, will be presented to Cassandra Paschal, principal of Oak Pointe Elementary School in Irmo, on Monday, April 29. The presentation will take place in the school theater at 3 p.m. The handbook is dedicated to the teachers, assistants and therapists on the school’s “Green Hall,” where the idea for this type of resource arose.

Bar President Angus Macaulay said, “Every person, at the age of 18, is presumed to be a competent adult with the capacity to make important decisions regarding health and well-being. However, that is not always the case, and the processes involved are complicated. “Transitions” is designed as a public service for parents who are in need of guidance as their children reach this turning point in their lives.”

Paschal said, “Our school is honored by the dedication of this book to our faculty who work with special needs students. Each child is unique in their abilities, and the information will be invaluable to parents who are striving to protect their children while encouraging an appropriatelevel of responsibility.”

The volunteer authors of the handbook are Columbia attorneys Franchelle C. Millender and Amy Landers May, who both concentrate their lawpractices on serving elderly and special needs clients. The book proposes solutions that are designed to give a transitioning child as many rights and responsibilities as he or she may be able to handle, given specific functional limitations, while establishing any legal authority needed to effectively and efficiently make decisions in the care of the transitioning child.

The book discusses legal processes for guardianship and conservatorship as well as other alternatives, such as durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney and representative payee. The Health Care Consent Act and estate planning issues are also addressed. A resource section directs parents to general and legal resources to obtain additional information andassistance.

While the handbook addresses a wide variety of issues concerning parents of transitioning children with disabilities, it does not take the place of advice and counsel from a competent attorney where a legal problem or issue exists.

An online version of the handbook is available at www.scbar.org/transitions. A free printed copy may be obtained by e-mailing the South Carolina Bar at scbar-info@scbar.org.

The South Carolina Bar, which has a membership of more than 14,000 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.

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