209 SW 4th Ave
Ste. 510
Portland, OR 97204-0000

Public Guardian ProgramCall the Public Guardian Program for more information at 503-988-4567.

The Public Guardian/Conservator’s Program obtains and implements court-appointed guardianship and/or conservatorship for people who are:

  • profoundly mentally incapacitated,
  • unable to care for themselves, and
  • currently at high risk due to abuse, exploitation or extreme self-neglect.  

What is Guardianship, and what do Guardians do?

Guardianship is a legal relationship, designed to protect mentally incapable people. 

Having a guardian can mean the difference between life and death for a crucial number of incapacitated people.  By making informed decisions that the person is unable to make, a guardian can prevent abuse and other physical harm, obtain needed care services, help the person stay in the most independent care setting possible, etc.

What is Conservatorship and what do Conservators do?

Like a guardian, a conservator is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs of a person who has been deemed financially incapable.

The person must have money or property that requires management or protection, and the conservator may perform some acts only with prior court approval. A conservator arranges payment for the person’s shelter costs, medical needs, insurance requirements, taxes, property ownership issues, and financial problems.

What is the difference between Public and Private Guardians or Conservators?

A Public Guardian or Conservator is funded by a publicly operated program that serves a particular population, generally low-income people or victims of abuse or financial exploitation. 

In most states, including Oregon, there must be no one else willing or able to serve as the guardian or conservator for a public guardian to be appointed by the court. A private Guardian or Conservator can be an agency, organization or practitioner that provides services to three or more protected people. It can also be a friend or family member who has been appointed by a court to serve in this capacity.

Who Can Be a Guardian or Conservator?

Many guardians are relatives of the protected person. Some professional guardians and conservators are in private practice, some work for non-profit agencies, and some are publicly funded. Most professional guardians have backgrounds as attorneys, nurses or social workers, and either hold a license in one of these areas or are certified through the National Guardianship Foundation (NGF)/Center for Guardianship Certification. 

The Guardianship/Conservatorship Association of Oregon (GCS) is affiliated with the NGF, and is comprised of a statewide collective of guardians and conservators working on standardizing Guardianship/Conservatorship practice in Oregon.

Guardian and Conservator requirements can be found in Oregon Revised Statute 125.

Need to make a referral?  

Please fill out one of the forms below. Submission instructions are included with the form. 

PG Referral and Intake Worksheet Fillable 2023 (4.05 MB)

PG Referral and Intake Worksheet Printable 2023 (114.92 KB)