A new demonstration project has the goal of improving state guardianship systems for older adults with dementia, individuals with disabilities and others.

The pilot project, which will be funded by Elder Justice Innovation Grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living, will be conducted by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging and the National Center for State Courts. Other aims of the work will be to avoid unnecessary guardianship and to prevent and address abuse.

Under the program, the highest court in each state can apply to receive funds to establish, expand and enhance state Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders, the court-community partnerships known as WINGS. In most cases, the maximum grant amount will be to $20,000, although the upper limit will be $30,000 in some states. Grantees also will receive help with strategic planning, outcome measurement and data collection, and they will be able to share information with other state WINGS.

“WINGS groups currently exist in 17 states and have produced valuable resources, enhanced court oversight and promoted less restrictive options,” representatives of the ABA and NCSC said in information provided to potential grantees. “Equally important, WINGS have forged communication paths among stakeholders, reducing silos among entities serving the same populations.” The project may lead to additional WINGS, the groups said.

The groups are seeking requests for proposals by Feb. 28.