Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Adult Guardianship (PA-AG) 2: Personnel

Program personnel have the competency and support needed to provide services and meet the needs of individuals in need of guardianship.


Competency can be demonstrated through education, training, or experience. Support can be provided through supervision or other learning activities to improve understanding or skill development in specific areas.
2020 Edition

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Individuals who receive guardianship services maintain a level of independence and self-determination appropriate to their functional capacity, and are at minimized risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Table of contents of training curricula
  • Procedures or other documentation relevant to continuity of care and case assignment
  • Sample job descriptions from across relevant job categories
  • Documentation tracking staff completion of required trainings and/or competencies
  • Training curricula
  • Caseload size requirements set by policy, regulation, or contract, when applicable
  • Documentation of current caseload size per worker
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
  • Review personnel files

PA-AG 2.01

Guardianship workers are licensed or certified as required by state law, and qualified by:
  1. an advanced degree in a relevant field; or
  2. a bachelor’s degree with two years' relevant experience.
Examples: Relevant degrees or experience include law, social work, accounting, nursing, business, geriatrics, developmental disability, psychology, occupational therapy, and public administration.

PA-AG 2.02

Supervisors are licensed or certified as required by state law, and qualified by:
  1. an advanced degree in a relevant field;
  2. a minimum of two years' related experience; and
  3. maintainance of certification from a national certifying body.

PA-AG 2.03

The agency has access to professionals with expertise in critical areas, such as financial management, health care, housing, bioethics, and law.


The agency may use members of its stakeholder advisory group as experts in relevant areas. When the agency does not have needed professionals as part of its staff or its advisory group, it should establish relationships with community stakeholders with a vested interest in the service population to fill this consultative role.

PA-AG 2.04

Guardianship workers are trained on, or demonstrate competency in:
  1. financial management;
  2. ethics issues unique to adult guardianship including bioethics and healthcare decision-making;
  3. reporting requirements;
  4. substituted judgment and best-interest standards of decision-making;
  5. local guardianship law including interstate jurisdiction and processes for terminating a guardianship; and
  6. state and federal regulations governing eligibility for public benefits, and appropriate steps to maintain the individual’s eligibility.
Examples: Regarding element f, training regarding eligibility requirements can include income and resource limitations, and transactions or assistance from family members that may disqualify the individual from continuing to receive public benefits, such as rent payment, groceries, or cash. Examples of steps that can be used to maintain eligibility can include  tools designed to spend down assets to within limits, such as the establishment of a special needs trust, or pre-payment of funeral or burial plans. Specific allowances will vary by state.

PA-AG 2.05

Employee workloads meet the agency's established caseload ratios and ensure that workers are able to provide appropriate support and timely decision-making for the individuals on their caseload.


The agency should be able to justify established ratios based on established criteria and demonstrate how it assures appropriate, high quality care is being provided to each client.
When an agency assigns teams of professionals to carry out different responsibilities for each case, all full-time, professional staff may be counted when determining the staff-to-client ratio.

Examples: Factors that may be considered when determining employee workloads include, but are not limited to:
  1. the complexity and status of each case, such as the individual’s living situation, the type of guardianship being provided, or the existence of complex medical conditions;
  2. the size of the geographical area covered;
  3. services provided by other professionals or team members such as bookkeepers, guardian assistants, and volunteers;
  4. other agency responsibilities;
  5. applicable legal requirements;
  6. the qualifications, competencies, and experience of the worker, including the level of supervision needed; and
  7. service volume, accounting for assessed level of needs of persons served.