ABOUT PUBLIC GUARDIAN
The Public Guardian provides a vital service to persons unable to properly care for themselves or who are unable to manage their finances. The service is provided through a legal process known as conservatorship. Persons in need of conservatorship are physically or mentally disabled to the point where they cannot utilize community services and resources. They usually have no family or friends able or willing to help.
The Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian was established in 1945 – the first in the state. Initially, the primary responsibility was for the finances of persons civilly committed to psychiatric facilities. As society evolved and the laws changed to meet new social challenges, the role of the Public Guardian broadened to include more responsibility for the care of the individual. The landmark LPS Act of 1969 and subsequent changes to the Probate Code meant that the Public Guardian became the substitute decision maker for vulnerable populations of the county, such as the frail elderly and persons with serious mental illness.
The Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian is organizationally located within the Department of Mental Health. Jonathan E. Sherin, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Department of Mental Health, has been appointed by the Board of Supervisors as the Public Guardian and County Conservatorship Investigator. Office of the Public Guardian operations is managed by Deputy Director Connie D. Draxler.
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