Governor Phil Bryant signs GAP Act to protect children and vulnerable adults

The GAP Act stands for “guard and protect”.

Governor Phil Bryant signs GAP Act to protect children and vulnerable adults
Governor Phil Bryant signs the GAP Act Wednesday surrounded by supporters of the new law.

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Among the bills signed by Governor Phil Bryant Wednesday was the GAP Act, which stands for “guard and protect." It will provide stronger protections for children and vulnerable adults.

According to supporters the new law will prevent the misuse of resources, and keep family members from wasting and squandering those resources.

The GAP Act goes beyond accounting for money and possessions but also focuses on the well being of the person involved, making sure needs such as food, housing and medical care are taken care of.

Supporters also say Mississippi’s laws governing guardianship and conservator-ships had not been substantially changed in more than 30 years. The old laws lacked provisions for oversight, monitoring and accountability, and there had been incidents of fraud and abuse of vulnerable people.

A commission was set up in 2017 and spent two years working on recommendations to improve the way the courts protect children, vulnerable adults and estates.

Court staff will undergo training on how the court’s computer system will assist judges in overseeing the care of citizens, according to Supreme Court Justice Dawn Beam, who was co-chair of the Commission on Guardianship and Conservator-ship.

The GAP Act goes into effect in January 2020.

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