National Community of Practice: Supporting Families throughout the Lifespan




Why are you thinking about Guardianship?


Someone may be telling you that you or someone you love needs to have a guardian. It might be school staff (schools routinely send out a letter about guardianship when a child who has an IEP turns 17), a medical professional, a service coordinator, or even another parent.


There is often a general assumption that just because someone has a disability, mental health diagnosis, or is aging, he or she will need a guardian. In reality, everyone is presumed competent to make choices about their own lives when they become an adult, unless a court says otherwise. With the right supports, many people with disabilities or special healthcare needs are able to remain “their own person,” making their own decisions and being in charge of their own lives. The trick is to find a balance- giving the person enough support and protection so they can live a safe and healthy life without taking away their rights and freedom to make choices and decisions for themselves.


There are a lot of reasons why individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and key supporters might be considering their guardianship options and alternatives for decision making support and/or protection. For example:



Before pursuing guardianship, it is important that you consider whether guardianship will achieve the outcome you desire. Guardianship is not a quick fix, it is a legal action that limits or denies a person the right to make their own decisions. It is important to consider the individual’s needs for support and/or protection and then ask, “How will having a guardian address each specific need?”


This website will provide you with information and tools you need to figure out which of the options and alternatives fit your family's unique situation. Use the options below to navigate or the menu at the topic to jump to the section you would like to view.

View the MOG training schedule or watch online >>
Read materials that explain guardianship >>
Watch personal stories from people in Missouri about guardianship >>


the training


Join us for a FREE workshop that will help you explore the options and alternatives to guardianship in Missouri! Two sessions available!


No workshops scheduled at this time. However, you may also watch the online training at any time!


Watch MO Guardianship: Understanding Your Options & Alternatives online



If you would like more information on hosting the training at your organization by using MO Guardianship materials, please contact (800) 773-8652 or email





Download or view the MO Guardianship Resource Guide

MO Guardianship Resource Guide: 2nd Edition

Revised September 2013

Provides detailed and complete information on guardianship alternatives and options in written form.

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals


Open the guide to download or print [PDF] >>





Download or view the MO Guardianship Stoplight Tool

Identifying Alternatives to Guardianship Worksheet
"The Stoplight Tool" 2nd Edition

Developed 2015

The Stoplight tool was reorganized using the LifeCourse life domains and updated with more user-friendly language and the MO Guardianship project branding. Learn more about Life Domasins and the LifeCourse at

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals


Open the Tool to download or print [PDF] >>





Download or view the Integrated Supports Star Worksheet for Guardianship

LifeCourse Integrated Supports Worksheet
Focusing on Guardianship

Developed 2015

Organized the alternatives to guardianship into the categories of the Integrated Supports Star. Learn more about Integrated Supports and the LifeCourse at

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals


Open the Worksheet to download or print [PDF] >>





Download or view the MOF2F One Page Guardianship Handout

MOF2F One-Page Handout on Guardianship

Developed 2013

Created by Missouri Family to Family in August of 2013 to provide a quick overview of guardianship and the alternatives and point individuals, families and professionals to where they can find more information.

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals


Open the Handout to download or print [PDF] >>






View the MO Guardianship Online Workbook

MO Guardianship Online Workbook

Developed August 2011

Interactive, multi-media information that can be accessed anytime, in total, or in specific sections

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals


Go to the flipbook >>









View the MO Family to Family Information Packet

F2F Information packet

Developed June 2011

Concise, quick, easy to read information on guardianship options and alternatives

For: Families, Self-Advocates, Professionals

Open the information packet to download or print [PDF] >>












These personal stories from families and professionals in Missouri are intended to help you understand how guardianship works in Missouri and how to explore the options and alternatives that work best for your family.











The Alternatives to Guardianship Project is collaboration between the UMKC-Institute for Human Development, UCEDD; the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, Missouri Protection & Advocacy Services, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health and is funded in part by the MODDC under provisions of PL 106-402, the DDA and Bill of Rights Act.

UMKC-Institute for Human Development

Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council

Missouri Protection & Advocacy

Missouri Department of Mental Health