PAULDING – Paulding County Probate Judge Michael A. Wehrkamp has announced the creation of a volunteer guardianship program to help those in the community live with the dignity they deserve. Judge Wehrkamp and his staff will host two informational open houses in October for those interested in serving their fellow residents as a volunteer guardian.

“Sometimes an adult is not able to manage his or her own affairs because of advanced age or a mental or physical disability, and when this occurs, it may be necessary for a guardian to assume the decision-making responsibilities for the person,” said Wehrkamp. “In recent years, the demand for this individualized care has grown beyond capacity, and our new program aims to provide a pool of screened and trained volunteers to serve as guardians to fill the gap.”

A guardian is an adult appointed by the Probate Court to protect, act and make decisions for a person in need of a guardian, known as a ward.

Currently in Paulding County, there are residents who do not have a family member or other suitable person willing to serve as their guardian. In the past, the Court has turned to local attorneys to serve as guardians in these cases.

However, the number of cases in the Probate Court has grown to the point that local attorneys no longer meet the demand.

Those interested in serving in this volunteer role are invited to attend an upcoming informational open house on Thursday, Oct. 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 5- 7 p.m. at the Black Swamp Nature Center, 503 Fairground Drive, Paulding, Ohio.

Alternatively, individuals may contact the Probate Court at 419-399-8256 to learn more.