Sam Crane, the Legal Director at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities quoted in the Progressive Magazine article ‘The Power to End a Person’s Life’
Sam Crane, the legal director at the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, a group that provides pro-bono legal services to people with developmental disabilities in the Washington, D.C., area, says supportive decision-making gives us “an opportunity to rethink the law in a way that maximizes people’s autonomy. We may never be able to completely eliminate guardianship, but in many cases, it’s not the only option.”
Read Full Article – The Power to End a Person’s Life

Disability Rights Experts Testify Before U.S. Senate Subcommittee: A Call for Conservatorship and Guardianship Reform On Tuesday, September 28, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution hosted disability rights experts at a hearing tomorrow on “Toxic Conservatorships: The Need for Reform.”  Morgan K. Whitlatch, Legal Director at Quality Trust, testified on the need for increased due process protections, the dismantling of the pipelines to overbroad and undue guardianship and conservatorship, and the advancement of supported decision-making.

The hearing also included testimony of Nick Clouse.  Nick worked with Indiana Disability Rights, a former 2018 NRC-SDM state grantee, to successfully get his guardianship terminated nearly a decade after his traumatic brain injury.  He testified about his experience with an overly restrictive guardianship, saying: “I could make medical appointments for my daughter but was not allowed to make them for myself.”

Video clips of other people with disabilities impacted by guardianship or who use supported decision-making were also shown at the hearing.  Those videos and more can be found here. Do you want to share a written statement or video for possible posting?  Please email them to
View the testimonies and Videos

Amici Brief Fights for Britney Spears’ Right to Choose Her Own Lawyer and Use Supported Decision-Making The National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making joined 24 other civil rights and disability rights organization in supporting an amici curiae brief, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, in Britney Spears’ conservatorship case. Filed on July 12, 2021, the “friend of the court” brief supports Britney Spears’ right to select her own attorney for her conservatorship proceedings and urges the Court to ensure she has access to assistance and tools, including Supported Decision-Making, to make this choice.
Read the brief:

ALERT! #FreeBritney Today a national group of Disability Justice and Supported Decision-Making Advocates, including the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making, released a statement on Britney Spears. Britney Spears’ testimony about her experience under conservatorship shined a spotlight on the problems of guardianship systems and their damaging impact on people’s lives. Ms. Spears is not alone in her experience.  We have fought for years for less-restrictive options that allow people to maintain their rights, dignity, and independence.
Read the statement:
@Center for Public Representation@The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, @National Disability Rights Network@National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making@Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities@Disability Rights Texas@Disability Voices Advocacy Office@Disability Rights California@The Arc of the United States

Statement from Disability Justice and Supported Decision-Making Advocates: Britney Spears Spotlights the Need for Change Now
When Britney Spears chose this week to share her personal experience living under a conservatorship, she shined a national spotlight on the problems of guardianship systems and the damaging and potentially devastating impact they can have on people’s lives. Ms. Spears is not alone in her experience. We are disability justice organizations that have been working for years to advocate for alternatives to overbroad, unnecessarily restrictive, and undue guardianship. We work to promote alternatives to guardianship and conservatorship, namely Supported Decision-Making, which is taking hold more and more across the United States.

NEW Report on Virginia SDM study by the Arc of Northern Virginia and the Burton Blatt Institute
“I learned that I have a voice in my future” Summary, Findings, and Recommendations of The Virginia Supported Decision-Making Pilot Project

Morgan K. Whitlatch will be co-presenting two sessions at the upcoming National Disability Rights Network virtual annual conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch, Legal Director of Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities and Lead Project Director of the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making , will be co-presenting two sessions at the upcoming National Disability Rights Network virtual annual conference.  The first, entitled “Implementing Lessons Learned from Supported Decision-Making Pilots,” is on June 9, from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM EDT.  The second, entitled “Guardianship and Voting Rights,” is on June 10, from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM EDT.  More information about the sessions and how to register can be found here.

BBI’s Jonathan Martinis and Peter Blanck’s new book “Supported Decision-Making: From Justice for Jenny to Justice for All!” featured in the Washington Post.
Six years ago, her Virginia court case opened the way for others with disabilities to fight for their independence. Hatch challenged a guardianship request by her parents that would have allowed them to keep her in a group home, and away from the friends she wanted to live with and the job she wanted to hold. Her attorneys argued at the time that she didn’t need someone to make every decision for her. She simply needed support making decisions. When Hatch won her case, she became an immediate champion for disability rights. She also became a reminder of what is possible when people are judged by what they can do instead of by what they can’t.

Supported Decision-Making and The Role Of Siblings Presentation
Tina Campanella, CEO, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities, presented in St. Paul, Minnesota at the Sibling Leadership Network Conference “Here. Together.” Learn more and download her presentation – Supported Decision-Making and The Role Of Siblings.

Supported Decision-Making Symposium Presentations and Handouts
Presenter Materials are available for download for the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making Symposium, “Taking Stock and Forging Ahead.” The two-day symposium is on June 10 and 11, 2019, at American University Washington College of Law (4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016).

NEW ONLINE Training: Finding the Right Fit: Decision-Making Supports and Guardianship
Produced under the Elder Justice Initiative, U.S. Department of Justice. This FREE interactive, user-friendly online training provides information and guidance on supports for decision-making. Learn about: Supporting someone to make decisions; Legal options such as power of attorney, advance directive, and guardianship; and Serving as a guardian.

NEW PRESENTATION: Supported Decision-Making: Update on U.S. Trends
Morgan Whitlatch, Lead Project Director, National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making, PowerPoint slide deck from a presentation given May 17, 2019. It summarizes some of the U.S. trends in this area, and slides 3 and 4 provide a list of U.S. states that have passed or pending legislation on Supported Decision-Making.

You Don’t want to Miss this one! Registration & Agenda  for Supported Decision-Making Symposium
Registration is open for the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making Symposium, “Taking Stock and Forging Ahead.” The two-day symposium is on June 10 and 11, 2019, at American University Washington College of Law (4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20016).

New Publication: ABLE Accounts and Supported Decision-Making: Building a Pathway to Independence, Inclusion, and a “Decent Quality of Life”
Jonathan Martinis & Jason Harris’ publication discusses ways people with disabilities may take more control over their finances and lives by opening and managing an ABLE Account. In so doing, they may also develop the skills and receive the supports they need to achieve the independence, community participation, and quality of life promised by the ADA.

New Impact Story: How Justin Clark’s fight for independence transformed disability rights in Canada
What an incredible man! Justin Clark, who was born with cerebral palsy, sued his parents for the right to make his own decisions. In 1982, he won the right to leave the institution and make his own decisions about his future. The impact of his case — a pivotal moment in the Canadian disability rights movement — continues to be felt today.

New Resource: 2019 Self-Directed Care Calendar
The calendar focuses on personal medicine, a type of self-directed care that allows a person with a serious mental illness to obtain the resources they believe will best support them in achieving their recovery or treatment goals. These resources can include traditional mental health services and medications, or goods and services that focus on reducing stress and increasing engagement in personally meaningful activities. Each month in the Self-Directed Care Calendar features a goal to help users develop their own personal medicine plan and put it into action. The calendar also features real stories from a TU Collaborative study of personal medicine, showing how participants used resources to increase participation as part of their recovery.

Jonathan Martinis interview on Supported Decision-Making for the Winter Autism Delaware newsletter “The Sun”
In The Sun’s recent interview with Jonathan Martinis, JD, the nationally recognized legal expert on disabilities and policy advocate begins by describing some cultural differences between the neurotypical and disabilities communities: “In the neurotypical world, we build on our strengths and overcome our weaknesses by relying on the advice or support of experts.

New Book on Supported Decision-Making: Theory, Research, and Practice to Enhance Self-Determination and Quality of Life
BBI Chairman Peter Blanck and Senior Director for Law and Policy Jonathan Martinis along with researchers Karrie Shogren and Michael Wehmeyer from the University of Kansas co-author book on Supported Decision-Making. This book is part of the Cambridge University Press series on disability law and policy edited by Peter Blanck. The book aims to provide a new way of looking at disability while also providing a roadmap for states, families, attorneys, policymakers, caregivers and others.

The National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making Makes Awards for its 2018/2019 State Grant Program Press Announcement
The National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making (NRC-SDM) is pleased to announce its most recent awards of funding and/or technical assistance to seven state-based projects designed to increase knowledge of and access to Supported Decision-Making by older adults and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The announcement is attached.

Webinar: Guardianship Termination and Restoration of Rights
Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. PT / 2:00 p.m. ET. This free webinar, sponsored by the National Center on Law and Elder Rights, explores strategies for successful termination and restoration of rights. This session will review recent cases, including a firsthand account from an attorney who was successful in restoring the rights of an older client. Much of the session’s discussion will incorporate the emergent concept of supported decision-making, which has brought attention to restoration of legal rights and identifying the supports that should be a critical part of restoration.

National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making State Grant Program Announcement
We are pleased to announce that the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making is accepting applications for the third round of our State Grant Program.

We will be awarding grants for state-based projects that adopt an innovative approach to increase knowledge of and access to Supported Decision-Making by older adults and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the life course.  For more details, please see the funding announcement.  The application deadline is 11:59 PM EDT on August 17, 2018.

Another victory for Supported Decision-Making in the District of Columbia
For the first time in D.C., a guardianship of a senior has been terminated specifically in favor of Supported Decision-Making, thanks to the work of Quality Trust’s Jenny Hatch Justice Project. When people use Supported Decision-Making, they work with friends, family members, and others they trust to help them understand the situations they face, so they can make their own decisions. The press release is also available at D.C. Senior Freed from Guardianship in Favor of Supported Decision-Making. Please help us spread the word about this success in advancing the “Right to Make Choices.”

NEW Video Friends and staff at Williams County Board of Developmental Disabilities discuss decision-making, independence and the future

NEW Research Tool: Supported Decision-Making Timeline
Explore and learn more with our new interactive timeline. Here you will find the complete international timeline of the Supported Decision-Making policy and practices.

NEW Report from the Social Security Advisory Board “Improving Social Security’s Representative Payee Program”
New Social Security Advisory Board Report recommends more study and use of Supported Decision-Making! (see pp. 21-22)

NEW Publication: Supported Decision-Making: Implications from Positive Psychology for Assessment and Intervention in Rehabilitation and Employmentg
This article, by Hatice Uyanik, Karrie Shogren, and Peter Blanck, reviews existing literature on positive psychology, supported decision-making (SDM), employment, and disability. It examines interventions and assessments that have been empirically evaluated for the enhancement of decision-making and overall well-being of people with disabilities. Additionally, conceptual themes present in the literature were explored.

NEW Video Supported Decision Making from Transitions Tennessee
Screen Shot Video Supported Decision Making

NEW Story of Supported Decision-Making: Suzie’s Story
Suzanne Heck wanted her rights back… and in the process the 22-year-old from Lexington became a pioneer and role model for those like her in Kentucky.


Supported Decision Making in Action throughout the LifeSpan -TASH Conference
Tina Campanella and Morgan K. Whitlatch Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Presentation on Supported Decision-Making at the Family Voice Family Leadership Conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch Thursday, November 16, 2017

Presentation on Supported Decision-Making at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care Annual Conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch Sunday, November 5, 2017

Defining SDM and older adults, integrating SDM into advance care planning at the annual ABA National Aging and Law Conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch and Jonathan G. Martinis, in partnership with ABA Commission on Law and Aging presenters Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Supported Decision-Making: Update On U.S. Trends And Best Practices at the CQL Annual Conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Supported Decision-Making: Practical Tips for Implementation at the National Guardianship Association Annual Conference
Morgan K. Whitlatch Monday, October 16, 2017

Presentation on Supported Decision-Making for the DC Office of Aging Senior Service Network and ARDC
Morgan K. Whitlatch Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Guardianship and Supported Decision Making Webinar
Tina Campanella presents a webinar on Guardianship and Supported Decision-Making with Barbara Kleist from University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. This webinar is being sponsored by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and their Legal Advocacy and Process Interest Network.
Thursday, September 28, 2017


NEW Video Series: Introduction and Guide to Supported Decision Making with Jonathan Martinis
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has produced a series of YouTube videos, available to anyone, about supporting the rights of people with disabilities and others to make choices about their lives. The videos feature Jonathan Martinis, senior director for law and policy at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. They are part of Minnesota’s efforts to support planning and services that promote choice and integration.

NEW Resource: South Australian Supported Decision-Making Training: Adelaide
This research brief was prepared by Dr Piers Gooding as part of the Unfitness to Plead Project at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute, which is being conducted in partnership with the Disability Rights Initiative at the University of Melbourne.

NEW Publication: Future Directions in Supported Decision-Making
This article, by Dr. Anna Arstein-Kerslake, Dr. Joanne Watson, Michelle Browning, Jonathan Martinis, and Professor Peter Blanck, explores the theoretical foundations of supported decision-making and the evolution of supported decision-making research. It explains the research that is emerging in leading jurisdictions, the United States and Australia, and its potential to transform disability services and laws related to decision-making.

NEW Resource for Parents: “Supported Decision Making Teams: Setting the Wheels in Motion.”
This paper, by Suzanne M. Francisco, Special Education and Disability Rights Advocate & Jonathan G. Martinis, Esquire, is about your options and actions you can take to help your children make their own decisions and direct their own lives to the maximum of their abilities.

Freedom for Ryan King
In a landmark Court victory, Ryan King won the right to direct his own life, with the support of his family, finally free after 15 years under a guardianship he never needed.

Reports from The National Resource Center’s 2015-2016 State Partners
Our Five Partners – Delaware, Indiana, North Carolina, Maine, and Wisconsin have prepared summary reports for their participation in the 2015-2016 Grant Year. See the progress around the nation regarding Supported Decision Making.

Vermont to change culture of disabilities
Jonathan Martinis, BBI’s Senior Director for Law and Policy, Co-Authors Article with Jessalyn Gustin in Apostrophe Magazine.

National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making is accepting applications for the second year of our State Grant Program
We are pleased to announce that the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making is accepting applications for the second year of our State Grant Program. For details, please see the attached funding announcement. The application deadline is September 15, 2016.

NEW Webinar Archive: From Theory to Practice: Supported Decision-Making and Community Based Supports
August 8, 2016, Moderated by Jonathan Martinis; Erica Wood & Marcia Tewell will discuss new and innovative ways for older adults and people with disabilities to receive community-based supports and services that can increase their self-determination, independence, and access to improved life outcomes.

NEW Video: Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices
What does person centered planning mean when a person might have difficulty making choices? With statistics and individual cases, Jonathan Martinis challenges his audiences to re-think how they perceive risk, protection, and capacity for persons living with disabilities. Participants will gain an understanding of how less restrictive alternatives can be created, and make the most of an individual’s capabilities and supports. Jonathan Martinis is Senior Director for Law and Policy at the Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University.

NEW Resource: Announcing The PRACTICAL Tool for Lawyers – Steps in Supporting Decision-Making
The PRACTICAL Tool aims to help lawyers identify and implement decision-making options for people with disabilities that are less restrictive than guardianship. It is a joint product of four American Bar Association entities – the Commission on Law and Aging, Commission on Disability Rights, Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, and Section on Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, with assistance from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making. Take a look!

Webinar Archive: From Theory to Practice: Supported Decision-Making and Financial Decisions
On June 29, Lori Smetanka & Michael Morris discuss ways that older adults and people with disabilities can access supports and services to make financial decisions and manage their money.

Webinar Archive: Supported Decision-Making in Education
On May 25, 2016, attorney Morgan Whitlatch and advocate Laura Smith Butler, who have worked to include Supported Decision-Making and self-determination into school curriculums, tell stories of triumph and struggle that are applicable to professionals across the country.

NEW: Final Results from our Supported Decision-Making Survey
SDM is increasingly being advocated for and used in the field, there is a critical need for valid and reliable empirical evidence regarding (1) best practices in SDM, including effective and challenging “support structures and methods; and (2) whether people who engage in SDM are more autonomous, experience better life satisfaction, and achieve meaningful community living and participation.

In The News: Supported Decision-Making Law Approved by the Knesset (Israel’s parliament)
The law recognizes supported decision making as a new legal tool, which will come into effect in two years. The law briefly defines the supporter’s functions – help with obtaining information, help with understanding the information and the available alternatives and help executing the decision and expressing it to third parties.
Read the news release and supporting documentation

NEW Video: Making Healthcare Choices: Perspectives of People with Disabilities
Produced by the American Civil Liberties Union

NEW: Presentation Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices, Securing Safety
On March 23, Tina Campanella, Chief Executive Officer, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities presented at American Society on Aging (ASA) Conference Washington, D.C.
More Information and Presentation

NEW: Guest Blog – “Success for Monica in Michigan”
On April 6, 2015, Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) was successful in terminating the guardianship of a 27-year-old woman in Jackson, MI.
View the Impact Story

NEW Resource: Supported Decision Making in California: Questions and Answers
Find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding Supported Decision-Making. We have compiled an F and Q based on some of the questions we receive
View the F & Q’s

NEW Resource: Supported Decision Making Brainstorming Guide
This tool can help people brainstorm ways that they are already using supported decision-making, and think about new ways supported decision-making could help the person with a disability learn to make their own safe, informed choices.
View the Tool

NEW Resource: Supported Decision-Making Model Agreements
These Samples only meant to be model forms. We recommend that you speak with an attorney before completing any form to make sure that your form meets all legal requirements
View the Model Agreements

NEW Resource: The Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s Supported Decision-Making toolkit
ASAN has released a new toolkit discussing supported decision-making (SDM) and guardianship, and the many different laws pertaining to both in the United States and internationally. The toolkit is called “The Right to Make Choices: International Laws and Decision-Making by People with Disabilities.”
View the Toolkit

NEW: Supported Decision-Making in the News
DRTx Legal Director interviewed on Time Warner News Capital Tonight program: Many people think that guardianship is the best way to help adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities make important decisions. The truth is, guardianship is often not necessary. Learn more about the new guardianship reform laws passed in Texas that will give people with disabilities more independence
View the Video

NEW Training: Winning the Case for Supported Decision-Making
National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) Webinar regarding Supported Decision-Making. This webinar will help you learn how to “win the case” for Supported Decision-Making at three critical stages: (1) when helping the people you work with access supports and services to live independently; (2) when a petition for guardianship has been filed; (3) and when the person you’re working with is under a guardianship.
View the Webinar

NEW: ADALive! The Interplay between Guardianship and the ADA
On October 7, ADALive!, The Southeast ADA Center’s monthly broadcast. Jonathan Martinis, Legal Director for Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities and the Project Director, National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making discussed the relationship between guardianship and the ADA. Topics included: What rights do persons with disabilities have under a guardianship? What are the alternatives to guardianship if I think it’s too restrictive? What is supported decision making? How does it work? What other issues do I need to think about that will enable a person with a disability to live more independently in the community?
Listen to the show