The Office of Public Guardian (OPG) is a non-profit corporation dedicated to providing guardianship and advocacy to legally incapacitated individuals in New Hampshire. We provide services throughout the state to individuals with intellectual disabilities, mental illness, progressive cognitive loss due to dementia or other neurological disorders, and traumatic brain injuries.
The Guardian staff is comprised of professionals with significant experience in various disciplines including mental health, developmental disability, traumatic brain injury, behavioral intervention and gerontology as well as attorneys with expertise in probate, criminal and exploitation issues. We work throughout the State of New Hampshire and interact extensively with the Area Agency and Community Mental Health systems, the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services and the Division for Children, Youth and Families, as well as long term care, medical and special education entities. As an agency, we pride ourselves on working collaboratively with service agencies while ensuring the needs of individuals under guardianship are met to the greatest extent possible.
Our Fiduciary staff are skilled in real estate and asset management and bring comprehensive understanding in benefit management including Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. The Office of Public Guardian is authorized to serve as Representative Payee by Social Security and Federal Fiduciary for Veteran’s funds on behalf of those we serve. We have worked together with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and the Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services in assisting elders victimized by financial exploitation.
The Office of Public Guardian has been a proud member of the National Guardianship Association (NGA) since its inception in 1988. OPG’s founding executive director, Michael Casasanto, JD, co-authored the Model Code of Ethics for guardians which was adopted nationally by the NGA and continues to inform the decision-making of the Office of Public Guardian. Our staff are certified as National Certified Guardians or National Master Guardians through the Center for Guardianship Certification. This requires an initial examination to assure understanding of guardianship practices and a criminal background check. In addition, staff are required to maintain current certification by attending a minimum of ten hours annually of continuing education in the form of inservices and trainings specifically related to guardianship work and the issues faced by the individuals we serve. We are committed to supporting training opportunities for our staff to best serve individuals in our care.This includes participating in the National Guardianship Association's annual conference to learn about guardianship issues around the country as well as ensuring that OPG continues to engage in best practices.
The Office of Public Guardian is held to a high standard of accountability in New Hampshire by the Circuit Court Probate Division. Detailed reports of the person and accountings of the estate must be filed annually. Guardians must exercise their authority as substitute decision maker while demonstrating restraint from unnecessary interference in the individual’s life. OPG is committed to ensuring that our wards receive appropriate care, protection and services in the least restrictive manner possible. Our advocacy and decision-making are guided by the National Guardianship Association Standards of Practice and Ethical Principles, the most fundamental of which is the requirement that our guardians make decisions that conform with the person’s preferences, except when doing so would be likely to cause substantial harm. Our goal is to protect the legal and human rights and civil liberties of each individual we serve. Our professional guardians exercise the highest ethical standards in decision-making on behalf of our clients.