National Guardianship Association, Inc.
Issues in Guardianship
Mission, Overview and History


Our mission is to advance the nationally recognized standard of excellence in guardianship.


The National Guardianship Association makes it our mission to advance the nationally recognized standard of excellence in guardianship.

NGA believes that those appointed to the care of guardians, conservators and fiduciaries deserve quality services and that every person should be provided respect, due process, rights, and dignity in guardianship.

NGA represents more than 1000 guardians, conservators and fiduciaries from across the United States who share our vision. They are professionals, volunteers and family guardians.

NGA set the standard for quality in guardianship by establishing national practice standards for individuals in 2000 and for agencies in 2008.

NGA also led the way in advocating certification of guardians by forming the Center for Guardianship Certification, which now lists 2000 individuals who have earned the designation of National Certified Guardian or National Master Guardian.

NGA seeks to protect incapacitated adults by ensuring that their guardians receive quality education and is recognized as the leading national resource for professional development.

NGA cooperates with other organizations such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the American Bar Association, the National College of Probate Judges, and AARP, to affect positive change in guardianship policy.

History based on research by Past President Vicki Alkire.

NGA came into being in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois where over 200 people gathered for the first national conference designed to meet the needs of this emerging and rapidly growing guardianship profession.

A special session was held prior to the start of that conference to determine if there was sufficient interest and commitment to form a national organization. While the short answer was a resounding “yes,” there was much discussion and debate due to the major differences in state laws and terminology. However, by the end of the first conference, bylaws had been approved, officers and board members elected, and the newly formed National Guardianship Association was founded and named. In January 1989 NGA was formally incorporated in the state of Illinois as a non-profit corporation.

The early years – Initially, there was a concentration both on defining NGA’s roles, responsibilities, and direction and in developing services and materials for the members. A Model Code of Ethics (authored by Michael D. Casasanto, Mitchell Simon, and Judith Roman) was adopted by NGA in July 1991 and later NGA went on to create and adopt a baseline of seven Standards of Practice for Guardians.

The organization always had a heightened interest not just in training and education for those in the guardianship arena, but in a national certification for guardians as well. Positive results of a membership survey about certification were presented at the 1994 NGA Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas, and the NGA Board moved forward to develop a uniform training and education curriculum and the corresponding certification examination. The first NGA Registered Guardian training session and exam was held at the 1996 NGA conference in Detroit, Michigan.

It was in 1997, with the support of the membership, that the NGA Board of Directors voted to create a separate examination and certification body. It was originally called the National Guardianship Foundation and is now known as the Center for Guardianship Certification. NGA continues to provide a review session for people qualifying to take the certification examination, while the CGC administers the examination process

The teen years - The original seven Standards of Practice were expanded to twenty-three Standards of Practice between 1998 and 2000. Later, additions were made in 2002 and again in 2007 to comprise NGA’s current twenty-five Standards of Practice. In 2007 moving from the Standards of Practice for individual guardians to Standards for Agencies and Programs Providing Guardianship Services seemed like a natural evolution for NGA.

Coming of age - In 2008, NGA performed the first Agency Quality Improvement Review for the Office of Public Guardian in Vermont. That was followed in 2009 by the first Court System Quality Improvement Review for the Delaware Chancery Courts.

There are so many varied and essential activities that NGA has engaged in over the years, that it is next to impossible to review all of them…….and there isn’t enough room here. However, suffice it to say, guardianship education and benefits to members have always been a priority for NGA. The annual conference has grown and has been in 19 states over a 20 year span. More recent focused educational activities include the development of a course on The Fundamentals of Guardianship, website based training, and the introduction of an annual Colloquium on Guardianship. There are now more than 1000 NGA members and 24 state guardianship associations that have been accepted as Affiliates.

To the future – The Board of Directors has always made the membership and quality guardianship the driving force in navigating NGA’s direction. NGA reached another milestone in 2009 with introduction of a strategic plan that is looking forward. The membership determined that four areas should be the pillars that support structure that is NGA: An annually updated Work Plan ensures that activities are on target, timely, and relevant.

  174 Crestview Drive . Bellefonte, PA 16823-8516 . Phone: 877-326-5992 . Fax: 814-355-2452 .  
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