Guardianship is established when a person with functional needs is no longer able to maintain control over their own decisions. Because this is a legally binding process, it should only be considered as a last resort. Explore alternatives to guardianship and learn about ways to protect the rights of Stark County residents with disabilities.

What is a guardian?

According to Disability Rights Ohio, a guardian is a person or entity appointed to take on responsibility for another person’s legal, financial and/or personal needs. This decision is made by the probate court and is legally binding. Find out about the different types of guardianship.

What are my rights?

The rights of the individual vary depending on the type of guardianship, but the following rights are maintained in most cases:

  • Because voting is a fundamental right, all individuals should be allowed to cast their own ballots unless a court finds them unfit
  • When possible, specific medical decisions, including those involving reproductive rights, should be made by the individual
  • A guardian cannot make a will or act as power of attorney

If you are seeking additional support or running into barriers, contact Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities for assistance.

Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities

A Major Unusual Incident (MUI) is an event that negatively impacts the health, safety or wellbeing of an individual with developmental disabilities. If you or someone you know is experiencing a major unusual incident, call the 24-hour hotline to report the event. MUI Hotline: 330-477-4477 The Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities exists to connect individuals and families with the services they need for health, safety, education and a high quality of life.
  • Service and Support
  • Early Intervention
  • Preschool
  • Health Services
  • Transportation
  • Family Support
  • Medicaid Waivers
2950 Whipple Ave. NW
Canton, OH 44708
Phone: (330) 477-5200
Intake: (330) 479-3582
Death of a guardian

The passing of a parent or caregiver is always a difficult time, but it is a particularly urgent concern for people with developmental disabilities. Not only are there the issues of grief and loss; decisions need to be made about legal guardianship, where the person with disabilities will live, how they will support themselves financially and how they will take care of their day-to-day needs. Visit Family Support for a lot of resources and basic needs information.

Helpful links

Guardianship and Alternatives for Decision-Making Support

Find helpful information about guardianship options and alternatives.

Guardianship and Its Alternatives

Because guardianship limits a person’s rights to make their own decisions, all other options should be exhausted before appointing a guardian. Learn about your options.

Guardianship Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions surrounding guardianship, your rights and guardianship alternatives.

Ohio’s Medicaid Program

Find information about Ohio’s Medicaid program, get answers to frequently asked questions and read through helpful resources to learn more.

Rules About Adult Guardianship

Everything you need to know if you’re an adult with disabilities who has been appointed a legal guardian.

Take Charge of Your Life: Know About Guardianship

Resources and information to help strengthen the rights to self-determination and self-advocacy.