Section 12-13-21

Appointment of guardian for developmentally disabled person.

(a) The term "developmentally disabled" person, means a person whose impairment of general intellectual functioning or adaptive behavior meets the following criteria:

(1) It has continued since its origination or can be expected to continue indefinitely.

(2) It constitutes a substantial burden to the impaired person's ability to perform normally in society.

(3) It is attributed to one or more of the following:

a. Mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or autism.

b. Any other condition of a person found to be closely related to mental retardation because it produces a similar impairment or requires treatment and services similar to those required for a person who is mentally retarded

c. Dyslexia resulting from a condition described in subparagraph a or b.

(b) Guardianship for a developmentally disabled person shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote and protect the well being of the person, including protection from neglect, exploitation, and abuse; shall be designed to encourage the development of maximum self-reliance and independence in the person; and shall be ordered only to the extent necessitated by the person's actual mental and adaptive limitations.

The court may appoint as guardian for a developmentally disabled person any suitable person or agency, public or private, including a private association or nonprofit corporation capable of conducting an active guardianship program for a developmentally disabled person. The court shall not appoint the Department of Mental Health as guardian or any other agency, public or private, that is directly providing services to the developmentally disabled person.

(c) A petition for the appointment of a guardian for an individual who is developmentally disabled may be filed with the probate court by an interested person or entity or by the individual. "Interested person or entity" shall mean an adult relative or friend of the respondent, an official or private agency, corporation, or association concerned with the person's welfare, or any other person found suitable by the court.

(Acts 1986, No. 86-623.)