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When Children With Special Needs Grow Up: How to Ensure Life-Long Services, Support, and Legal Protections for Someone You Love

March 22 @ 1:00 pm EDT


THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO THE WINTER STORM!!!  It will be rescheduled, and we will announce the new day and time here. Also, check www.Royer-Greaves.org for updates. Thank you!

  • Experts to offer advice on planning for major life transitions, including young adults “aging out” of the school system and continuing care after the death of parents or guardians.

  • Information regarding power of attorney and guardianship applies to anyone making decisions on behalf of someone else, including adult children of incapacitated parents.

Paoli, PA…Royer-Greaves School for Blind will offer a free symposium on legal protections and other steps that families should take to ensure loved ones with a disability have the support and services they need for a lifetime. The event will be held 1 p.m. March 22 at the school’s Manor House, 118 S. Valley Road, Paoli.

This is about being the voice for your loved one, and knowing your rights and theirs,” said Royer-Greaves Executive Director Vicky Mayer. “It’s about making certain that the right person legally has the right to make decisions on behalf of the person with a disability, throughout his or her life.”

Two experts will speak on topics ranging from establishing power of attorney or guardianship to maximizing Medicaid funding for community-based services: Rebecca A. Hobbs, Esquire, a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) with O’Donnell, Weiss & Mattei, P.C., and Mimi Ferraro, an educational consultant and founder of Next Steps Life Solutions.

Ferraro will discuss challenges and solutions for parents and guardians with a child who is or will soon be 21 and must transition from school-based to community-based services. “Parents are very, very overwhelmed,” she said. Their children still need vocational, educational, social, and therapeutic services, and now that they are no longer in school, it’s up to the family to choose the right ones, and figure out how to pay for them, Ferraro said.

For some people with disabilities, housing and employment are also needed.

Ferraro will provide guidance on important early steps, including determining Medicaid eligibility, establishing a list of goals, and finding the right providers to help fulfill them.

Hobbs will outline the legal steps that must be taken to establish financial and health decision-making authority for those over age 18 who are unable to make their own decisions, or who may not be able to do so in the future.

Mayer, Royer-Greaves’ executive director, notes that parents who have always made decisions for their child with disabilities may be blindsided to realize that once the child turns 18, they can no longer do so without first going through the proper legal procedures. This is where Hobbs’ expertise comes in.

She will discuss the various types of power of attorney and guardianship and when each is appropriate. Both grant an individual the legal authority to make decisions on behalf of another person. “The main difference is guardianship is court-appointed while power of attorney is something the individual chooses and decides.”

Hobbs will also discuss pitfalls. For example, power of attorney forms are available online, but those don’t always hold up, particularly in Pennsylvania. “Pennsylvania has specific rules for the content of the document. If you do it yourself, it may not be accepted by doctors or financial institutions,” Hobbs said. That could force a guardianship proceeding through the courts, potentially in an emergency situation.

Both Ferraro and Hobbs will touch on long-term financial preparations in their talks, such as the establishment of special needs trusts. “Caregivers are not going to be here forever, but their children are not going to grow out of a disability,” Ferraro said.

Hobbs notes that the trustee is only charged with managing the assets held in the trust, while the person holding the power of attorney or guardianship help manage the individual’s day to day financial needs. She will explain more about this coordination of effort. She will also discuss the differences between Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Needs Trusts and how each are funded.

Both presenters will take questions. Refreshments will be provided to attendees during a break between the two talks, so while the seminar is free, please reserve your space by calling Royer-Greaves at 610-644-1810.


March 22
1:00 pm
Event Category:


Royer-Greaves School for Blind


Royer-Greaves School for Blind
118 S. Valley Road
Paoli, 19301 United States
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