History of Guardianship Services Inc.

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Tarrant County’s guardianship program began in 1985 as “Volunteer Guardians,” a pilot project administered by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program at the United Way and subsidized by Older American’s Act funding. When the pilot project proved a success, the program became part of Senior Citizen Services of Greater Tarrant County, providing volunteer guardians for adults 60 years and older.

In 1997, Tarrant County’s Probate Judges noticed an increasing need for guardians for individuals under the age of 60. A community survey recommended that there be a single guardianship program to serve all adults. A group of attorneys formed a board and incorporated as Guardianship Services, Inc. In 1998, the guardianship program became an independent agency and began serving adults 18 years and older.

Initially, volunteers were directly appointed to serve as guardians by the Tarrant County Probate Courts. As the number of clients grew and the clients’ situations became more difficult, staff members were hired to also serve as guardians.  In 2006, the Texas Supreme Court approved the “Guardianship Certification Rules and Fees,” providing a mechanism to certify individuals who provided guardianship services in Texas. The cost and logistics of certifying volunteers became prohibitive. Volunteers are still an integral element of the program. They add a quality of life to the clients which otherwise would not exist. However, due to the legislative changes, they are no longer appointed guardian.

The Money Management Program became part of GSI in 2000. As a less restrictive alternative to guardianship, the program serves as Representative Payee for government benefits or assists clients with the bill paying process.