Guardianship Navigator Project

Our design group generated a wealth of ideas to improve the user experience of pursuing a Guardianship through the California Courts, as well as ways to improve the court system itself.

Here you can find our Priority Shortlist; some visualizations of ideas grouped together, and a longer menu of proposed solutions.

We created a shortlist of what the stakeholders considered the biggest priorities — which ideas should be pursued immediately. In the next stage of our project, we will be developing first prototypes of each of these tools, for testing, vetting & possible piloting.

GUARDIANSHIP PROJECT DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES

  1. A unified legal portal: one authoritative place that everyone could go to for information;

  2. Revised legal forms: that are easier to understand & fill out;

  3. Document assembly software: that lets a person create their work product in an efficient & intelligent way;

  4. Triage tool: a diagnosis tool that gets the user onto the right legal process path;

  5. Online video trainings: that provide lively and interactive education on how to navigate the process successfully;

  6. Know Your Rights Outreach: that helps lay people understand what the process will entail & how they can benefit from it — and manage their expectations of it.


Our working group has generated a range of ideas to improve the Guardianship process in California.
These ideas can be grouped according to the user’s journey through the legal process of petitioning for Guardianship — with different solutions presented for each stage of this journey.

IDeas - USER JOURNEY through a GUARDIANSHIP PROCESS and IDEAS FOR EACH STAGE

Another approach is a mind map of the concepts, categorized with similar other possible solutions.

Our group generated a lengthier list of possible solutions during its design work. Here is a grouped set of possible solutions to pursue.

GUARDIANSHIP PROJECT MENU OF IDEAS FOR DEVELOPMENT

1.) PROCESS ORIENTATION & GUIDANCE

To ensure everyone who comes into court regarding a guardianship action has a high level understanding of the process, and to provide easier access to information about the process in a simple manner, along with details on the steps to accomplish a guardianship.
  • Supply a very clear, engaging, visual explanation of steps to take to complete an application. Present it in a way that is most useful to applicants — with modes in web, paper, or app.
  • Provide a simple flow chart for someone two figure out what to do and in what order. It can be in a mind map style.
  • Give an Online Tutorial for the petitioning Guardians.
  • Provide a web resource where potential guardians can get community & peer feedback about the process.
  • Offer only a single point of online entry for guardianship. It should include ways to learn about the process, fact sheets about it, forms, and assistance.
  • Clarify the difference between guardianship & caregiver paths. Show this through both video and written text.


2.) A NAVIGATOR COMPANION, ADVISER

To accompany the user through the process, to make sure they stay on track & take full advantage of the support the courts and government can offer.
  • Provide the petitioner with partners & mentors who have gone through the process already. This could be in person, through a volunteer corps. Or it could be through online advice, columns. etc.
  • Provide a court-funded representative for every child or guardian going through the system.
  • Pair veteran guardians with aspiring ones.


3.) DOCUMENT ASSISTANCE

To support an applicant with specific guidance on completing forms, so that their case proceeds promptly and with full transparency.
  • Have attorneys available to consult with unrepresented litigants, to help them fill out forms.
  • Provide a Help By Phone service to have attorneys give consultation to unrepresented litigants.
  • Make judicial council forms truly self-help user-friendly. Provide plain language forms.
  • Create software that would walk a petitioner through the necessary forms in non-legalese.


4.) EASING THE SYSTEM & PROCESS

To make it easier to accomplish the steps of getting the Guardianship prepped and resolved.
  • Supply a mediator for the court system that facilitates online between the parties and the court.
  • Give easier ways for litigants to serve notice on the people they’re required to provide notice to.
  • Make it easier and more intuitive for petitioners in guardianship cases to serve the people they need to serve.
  • Take away paperwork from the process.
  • Improve communication between the court and petitioner with quicker reminders, guides and interactions.


5.) HOLISTIC SOCIAL & LEGAL SERVICES

To help the user deal with the real-life, out-of-court situation alongside the legal one.
  • Connect children, guardians, and parents to therapy, mediation, transportation & education services.
  • Make social services available to applicants and families.
  • Give children & guardians a resource manager.
  • Provide childcare during meetings and hearings.
  • Give families counseling support.


6.) FEEDBACK LOOP BETWEEN THE COURT & ITS USERS

To allow more input from the community regarding the Guardianship court process.
  • Provide a feedback review system on potential guardians or existing guardians. This will allow interested parties from the public to initiate checks for the welfare of the child and ensure the guardian is doing a good job.
  • Allow people who have been through the process to provide feedback and ideas for how it can be better.

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