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Wednesday, May 15


Keynote & Conference Welcome:

Wednesday, May 15 - 1:00 - 3:00pm

1:00 - 1:15 - Welcome & Opening Comments

Carol Kelly

NCGA Education Committee & Conference Chair

1:15 - 3:00 - NC Guardianship's New Law

Nicki Applefield Engel
Johnston, Allison & Hord

North Carolina has made recent, fundamental changes to its guardianship laws. On January 1, 2024, NC's Guardianship Rights Act (S.L. 2023-124) became effective, and its focus is on protecting the individual rights of persons affected by guardianship and less restrictive alternatives to guardianship. Learn about these significant changes and how they affect North Carolina guardianships. This session will provide an overview of what the new law requires, including a new notice of rights to be served on the Respondent, less restrictive alternatives to be considered prior to seeking guardianship, and new tools for more effective guardianship oversight and management.


The session will end with Linda Kendall Fields describing the educational efforts underway through the Cares Program at UNC-CH, to better inform North Carolinians about less restrictive alternatives.

Ethical Considerations in Guardianship
A Panel Discussion

Wednesday, May 15 - 3:30 - 5:00pm

Join panel members for an open discussion about guardianship ethics. The ethical concerns are widespread and include considerations such as dignity, decision making, confidentiality, self-reliance, and respect. Panelists will talk about the ethical considerations in their own work and respond to audience questions.


  • Corye Dunn - Director of Public Policy - Disability Rights NC

  • Timothy Heinle - Teaching Assistant Professor, UNC School of Government

  • Stacey Skradski - Empowering Lives Guardianship

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NCGA Welcome

Wednesday, May 15 - 5:00 - 7:00pm

Come celebrate with colleagues as we lift a toast to passage of the Guardianship Rights Bill - SB 615.

Sponsored by:




Dinner: pulled pork and chicken bbq

Thursday, May 16

Continental Breakfast - 8:30 - 9:00am

Conference Crowd

Thursday, May 16 - 9:00 - 10:30am

Come discuss what we are seeing in our practices since passage of changes to 35A. What are you seeing? Are things improving? What do you want to see change? How can Disability Rights NC help?

Corye Dunn - Director of Public Policy, Disability Rights NC
Mellonee Kennedy - Attorney, Disability Rights NC

A Conversation About the New Guardianship Laws

White Background

The Role of the GAL and What it Means for Others

Timothy Heinle
Teaching Assistant Professor
UNC School of Government

Thursday, May 16 - 10:45 - 11:45am

Topics for this session include the role of respondents’ appointed guardian ad litem attorneys in Chapter 35A proceedings, including professional responsibilities, ethical considerations, and scope of representation questions. This session will also explore what others involved in these proceedings—e.g., private counsel, guardians, clerks, records holders, and next of kin—should expect when interacting with the guardian ad litem attorney.

NCGA Conference Luncheon - 11:45 - 12:45pm

Concrete Wall

Thursday, May 16 - 12:45 - 2:15pm

This session will feature a dynamic panel discussion featuring seasoned professionals in adult guardianship. They will share their successes, challenges, and insights in implementing the new guardianship rights law. Gain practical wisdom and inspiration to navigate the complexities of legislative change in your own community.

Meredith Smith
Albert and Gladys Hall Coates Distinguished Term Associate Professor of Public Law and Government
UNC School of Government

Real Life Experiences After Passage of the Guardianship Rights Law

  • Hon. Shelley Dickerson, Clerk of Superior Court, Franklin County
  • Laurie Gallagher, Attorney, Union County Department of Social Services
  • Charlotte-Anne T. Alexander, Attorney, Colombo Kitchin Attorneys

Breakout Sessions:

Thursday, May 16

2:30 - 3:30pm

Working with LGBTQ+ Adults

Alison Climo

Senior Community Engagement Specialist

UNC Cares at the School of Social Work

If we do not take into consideration issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, even “person-centered practice” can fall short and fail to protect the interest of some individuals and families. This presentation will strengthen your ability to serve adults who identify as LGBTQ+ and their families. You will expand your vocabulary, understand how historical context shapes lived experience, identify sources of disparities and strength, and develop strategies for providing safe and inclusive services.

When Palliative, When Hospice?: Eligibility Criteria and How This Supports Your Clients and You

Maureen Williams MEd, BSN, RN, CCM, CDCP

Director of Care Navigation

Four Seasons Care

Palliative Care and Hospice Care are a vital part of the continuum of care for everyone! This session will describe the eligibility criteria for both services, as well as when to request them. Each type of service will be described as well as how to access. Ultimately, you will be encouraged to apply what you’ve learned to even better support your clients and families.

Afternoon Break - 3:30 - 4:00pm
sponsored by MMA Group, Inc

Concrete Wall

Breakout Sessions:

Thursday, May 16

4:00 - 5:00pm

Empathy and Etiquette for Persons with Physical/Cognitive Disabilities

Julie Bradwell

Guardian Representative

Empowering Lives Guardianship Services, LLC

This experiential session will explore what it might feel like to have a certain physical/cognitive disability and how a person with this disability may function on a daily basis.

Connecting Social Isolation & Loneliness and Health & Well Being

Nancy Warren

APS Consultant

Health Benefits ABCs

An instructive and interactive 1 hour session exploring the negative consequences of loneliness and social isolation on the people we serve; and useful ideas and suggestions for addressing social isolation and loneliness.

NCGA Exhibitor Reception - 5:00 - 6:00pm

Friday, May 17

Continental Breakfast - 8:00 - 8:30am

Breakout Sessions:

Friday, May 17

8:30 - 9:30am

White Background

Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias

Alison Climo

Senior Community Engagement Specialist

UNC Cares at the School of Social Work

Do you know someone who is living with dementia? It is likely that you do. North Carolina is among the top ten states with the largest number of people living with dementia. In some counties in North Carolina, nearly 1 in 6 adults ages 65 and over is living with dementia. Among adults over 85, that rate is 1 in 3 and is expected to rise in the coming years. This presentation will introduce you to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) including their risk factors, causes, symptoms, stages, and treatment options. You will also become familiar with what North Carolina is doing to address dementia.

Guardianship in the Long Term Care Setting: Don't Go It Alone

Bridgette Clifton

VP of Operations

Marykay Holt

Market Director of Clinical Services

Longevity Health Plan of NC

Institutional Special Needs Plans (ISNPs) are Medicare Advantage Plans specifically designed for residents of long term care communities. While offering coverage and supplemental benefits tailored to the unique physical, social, and emotional needs of long term care residents, the hallmark of the ISNP Model of Care is the expertly trained team of Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, and Clinical Support Assistants that provide a holistic and interdisciplinary approach to the care of our members. The fastest growing I-SNP in the US, Longevity Health Plan, serves over 1,000 members across 33 North Carolina counties, including many residents receiving guardianship services. This session will dive into the comprehensive approach of our Advanced Practice Providers centered around advance care planning and individualized plans of care as well as the support we offer both long term care residents and the Guardians involved in their care.

Morning Break - 9:30 - 10:00am

Concrete Wall

Clerks Panel

  • Honorable Jim Mixson - Iredell County
  • Honorable Katie Madon - Brunswick County
  • Honorable Michelle Ball - Johnston County

Friday, May 17 - 10:00 - 11:30am

Moderated by Caroline Quinn, Wilson County Clerk of Superior Court

The panel will address the practical implications of the changes to their hearings based on the new 35A. Alternatives, rights, accountability, and consideration of alternatives will be discussed as well as how clerks and guardians can collaborate on behalf of those they serve.

NCGA Closing Remarks - 11:30am

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