Mission

Our Mission is to provide guardianship services to incapacitated adults of limited financial means in a caring, competent, and respectful manner.


One Person at a time......

The Guardianship Program of Dade County, Inc. is a private, non-profit agency which acts as the Public Guardian for indigent adults who are adjudicated incapacitated residing in Miami-Dade County, Florida.  We are proud to have the support and trust of the 11th Judicial Circuit, as well as the State of Florida, Department of Elder Affairs, and Miami-Dade County. 

Additionally since its inception in 1980, we have been privileged to serve thousands of our residents throughout the County.  Unfortunately, most have either no family or no one able, willing, or qualified to act on their behalf.  These individuals tend to be the frail elderly as well as the developmentally disabled and also younger mentally ill adults.  A full range of services is provided to care for the multiple needs of our wards.

With the oversight of an independent volunteer Board of Directors, the agency is headed by an Executive Director.  The Program employs 45 full-time staff members overseeing Financial Services, Legal Services, Intake and Property, Case Management and numerous direct services. 

We have an open intake process.  We receive new clients through a court-appointed process and regardless of their medical diagnoses, personal histories, mental stability or the complexity of their case.  The financial eligibility criterion is generally based on the Medicare eligibility guidelines.  Our office acts as the legal guardian of last resort.

 


Charles A. Vilar
President

First elected to the board in 2008. With over 15 years of experience, Vilar is a Senior Vice President-Wealth Advisor at BB&T. He holds various financial and security licenses as well as an MBA.


Rosa T. Romero, Esq.
Vice President

Board member since 2011. Is an attorney with Barreto & Romero, P.A. Also serves as a Vice Chair of the Probate and Guardianship Committee of the Dade County Bar Association.


Michael Axman, Esq.
Treasurer

Elected to the Board in February 2011. Is an attorney with a LL.M. (Taxation) and an active CPA license in Florida. He also holds the AV Preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell.


Haydee Orozco
Secretary

Elected to the Board in 2005. Haydee Orozco is a Senior Vice President and Trust Officer with Coconut Grove Bank. She has also previously served as President of the Guardianship Program

 
Sergio L. Mendez, Esq.
Director

Elected to the Board in 2003. Is an attorney with Mendez & Mendez, P.A. He has also served as President of the Cuban-American Bar Association and holds the AV Preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell.


David Mangiero, Esq.
Director

First elected to the Board in 1997. Is an attorney with Palmer, Palmer, & Mangiero. He is a recipient of the Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award and holds the AV Preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell.


Mary Jo LaMont
Director

Board member since February 2014. Recently retired after a distinguished career in law enforcement with Miami-Dade Police. Has developed trainings to detect and prevent abuse of vulnerable adults

 




From left to right:

Katrine Jensen-Tatarsky
Barbara Freeman
Regina Roberts
Elena Hernandez
Jeff Brodeur
Carlos McDonald
Steve Hine

 One Step at a time…..

In many instances the intervention of the guardian will remove a person from a situation where they are being neglected, abused or exploited by others.  Unfortunately, most have either no family or no one able, willing, or qualified to act on their behalf.  Additionally, many have little if any benefits or assets to assist with their own services or housing. 

Further, the need for Guardianship services in Miami-Dade County is evident in the 2000 Statewide Public Guardianship Office report, “Forgotten Faces of Florida,” which estimated that there is a need in Florida for 1.5 public guardianships for every thousand.  Considering the 2012 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, Miami-Dade County’s adult population stands near 2.07 million.  This puts the countywide need for adult public guardianships at approximately 3,105.  This agency is presently authorized and budgeted to serve a maximum active caseload of up to 1,541.  As it is, over the last 10 years the agency’s annual caseload has grown over 36%.  With client turnover throughout the year, our agency handles well over 1,500 individual guardianships annually.  Based on the projected annual need for public guardianships, the Guardianship Program is currently meeting only approximately 44% of Miami-Dade County’s service needs. 


An in-depth evaluation study of the public programs in Florida was released in 2009 by the University of Kentucky for the Florida Department of Elder Affairs.  This study used state-of-the art analysis and built upon earlier research.  Following are several observations in the report:
•   The average yearly state contribution is $2,057,413 and the average contribution per program is $137,161.
•   The average yearly cost of serving an Incapacitated Person is $2,648.
•   The overall cost savings to the state of Florida is $1,883,043.

In essence ----
“The programs produce substantial cost savings to the state — $1,883,043 for one year and far outweighs the cost of not having public guardianships.”
“The programs pay for themselves in a single year.”