Treasure Coast man challenging Florida’s guardianship laws

STUART, Fla. — A Treasure Coast man is combating to assist individuals with mental disabilities get their truthful shot at a full, impartial life.

Michael Lincoln is attempting to achieve help for a invoice that might make it more durable for somebody to be placed on a court-ordered guardianship with out a choose first contemplating an choice that doesn’t strip them of their rights to get married, drive, and vote.

Lincoln mentioned he has an mental incapacity, and grew up primarily in foster care.

When he was ageing out of foster care, Lincoln mentioned a St. Lucie County choose thought-about him incapacitated and put him underneath a court-ordered guardianship.

He misplaced his proper to vote, get married, select his job, select the place he wished to dwell and make primary choices for himself.

He was put in a bunch house the place he mentioned he felt trapped.

“I mentioned sufficient is sufficient,” Lincoln mentioned.

By being his personal advocate and searching for out authorized assist from Disability Rights Florida, he regained his rights after greater than 2 years and was taken out of the guardianship program.

As an alternative, he was allowed to be part of Supported Choice Making.

“I used to be named the primary particular person in Florida to get Supported Choice Making within the state,” Lincoln mentioned.

Which means he may select the help community that might assist him make large choices and provides him steerage and recommendation as wanted.

He works carefully with the nonprofit, Stand Up For Independence.

“Our mission is to show advocacy locally, to show individuals they’ve the correct to vote, to be locally, go to church,” mentioned Kimberly Martinez, an advisor for Stand Up For Independence.

It’s made up of others with mental disabilities working collectively to help one another’s independence.

“We’re impartial,” mentioned Amanda Baldwin, President of Stand Up For Independence.

“I additionally dwell independently, and we drive, and we’ve an 18-month-old child,” mentioned Stand Up For Independence Communications Coordinator, Erin Hyne.

Lincoln hosted a neighborhood training session Friday on the ARC of Martin County to proceed spreading the phrase about Supported Choice Making. He’s working to achieve extra help for HB and 681 and SB 1010, which might require judges to contemplate Supported Choice Making earlier than ordering somebody to the guardianship program.

The invoice died final 12 months, however they hope that it is perhaps profitable this session.

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