Virginia Public Guardianship Programs

Virginia's public safety net includes public guardianship for adults who are:

  • Incapacitated;
  • Indigent; and
  • In need of someone to help them make medical, financial, or daily living decisions, but who have no suitable person to serve as their guardian.

The Division for Community Living contracts with human service agencies across the Commonwealth to provide public guardianship services. A public guardian visits with each client, personally, at least once a month, and depending on the client's needs, supervises medical care, oversees residential care, monitors social service benefits, and advocates on the behalf of the client. A public guardian can, at the direction of a Virginia Circuit Court, also serve as conservator for individuals who are indigent and in need of public guardianship but have some minimal financial assets that need to be disposed of or managed. The Virginia Code provisions governing the program appear in Sections 15.5-149 et seq.  The regulations appear in 22 Virginia Administrative Code Section 30-70-10 et seq.

Every two years the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services provides a report to the Virginia General Assembly on the status of the program. Copies of the two most recent reports can be found here.

2018 Biennial Report of the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program

2016 Biennial Report of the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program

How to Obtain a Public Guardian

The steps to obtain a guardian through the Virginia Public Guardian & Conservator Program are:

  1. A local referral source identifies a person who needs guardianship services. This referral source may be an adult care facility, an Adult Protective Services office, a local Community Services Board, a hospital, or other person or organization that deals with people who are indigent or incapacitated.
  2. The referral source contacts the local public guardian service provider (LPGSP) for the geographic area where the incapacitated person resides. Here is a list of the local public guardian service providers.
  3. The referral source completes the referral form received from the LPGSP. The form is designed to gather factual information needed to ensure the incapacitated person meets the statutory requirements for public guardianship and that the LPGSP is able to effectively serve as guardian.
  4. If the person is accepted by the LPGSP, the referral source engages an attorney to request a capacity and guardianship hearing before a Virginia Circuit Court pursuant to Virginia Code Section 64.2-2000 et. seq.
  5. If the Circuit Court finds that the person is incapacitated and indigent the LPGSP is suggested as a suitable guardian as long as no other suitable person can be identified.
  6. The Circuit Court makes the appointment and the LGPSG takes over as guardian for the incapacitated person.

In the case of individuals having a diagnosis of intellectual or developmental disability, the referral should be made through the local Community Services Board, rather than directly to the LPGSP.


Presently, the program has the capacity to serve 1,049 incapacitated individuals across the state. To ensure a high quality of service, the number of people any particular LPGSP can accept is capped based on the size of the LPGSP; therefore, space in the existing programs is somewhat limited. If an opening is not available for a person who appears to be eligible for public guardianship services, the LPGSP will place the person on a waiting list and the referral source will be notified when an opening becomes available. The limited size of the local public guardian programs makes finding possible alternatives to public guardianship extremely important.

A private citizen may be appointed by a court to serve as guardian for an incapacitated individual. The Virginia Public Guardian & Conservator Program does not monitor or regulate the performance of private guardians.


Questions regarding the program may be directed to the Program Director for the LPGSP for your geographic area or to:

Patti G. Meire
Coordinator, Virginia Public Guardian & Conservator Program
Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services
1610 Forest Ave., Suite 100
Henrico, VA 23229
Phone: 804-588-3989

The Virginia Public Guardian & Conservator Program strives to provide and meet high standards for all clients served. If you believe that a person receiving public guardianship services is being treated inappropriately or unfairly, please follow the complaint process.

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