Adult Guardianship


Onslow County Human Services Adult Guardianship Program provides services that are mandated by Chapter 35A of the N.C. General Statutes. These services are provided to individuals who have been adjudicated incompetent by the court based on their need for a guardian to assist with decision-making in an area(s) of their lives.

Guardianship is a legal relationship in which an appointed guardian is authorized by the Clerk of Superior Court to be a substitute decision maker for an incompetent adult.

If you believe someone is unable to manage their own affairs or make their own decisions, perhaps due to injury or mental health issues or other disabilities, a petition may be filed before the Onslow County Clerk of Superior Court to have the person adjudicated incompetent and to have a legal guardian appointed.

Who We Serve: 

Our clients include people who are elderly, medically frail, developmentally disabled, mentally ill or hearing-, speech- and/or visually impaired. We also serve people with dementia, brain injuries and clients with a combination of issues.

What We Do:

  • We do serve as a surrogate decision maker regarding a person’s services, which may include medical, residential, psychiatric and psychological services.
  • We do monitor these services by maintaining contact with providers and meeting regularly with both the individual and their providers.
  • We do visit the individuals and maintain as positive relationship as possible with both the person and their families or significant others.
  • We do advocate for the person’s best interest and appropriate levels of care.
  • We do provide 24/7 emergency on-call services for persons whose health and safety are at immediate risk.
  • We do provide annual assessments on the individual’s continued need for guardianship, which is reported to the Clerk of Court.

What We Can’t Do:

  • We cannot force people to change their behaviors.
  • We cannot force people to act in their own best interest.
  • We cannot force medical, psychiatric or residential services.
  • We cannot prevent self-destructive behaviors or relationships.
  • We cannot prevent a person from leaving an unlocked facility.
  • We cannot force an agency or hospital to provide services.

Additional Resources:

Public mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services are managed by Trillium Health Resources 24-Hour Access to Care Line: 1-877-685-2415.
Crisis situations are often best resolved in the client’s home setting and the 
Mobile Crisis Team is available:

  • 24 hours a day
  • 7 days a week to respond to urgent situations
  • They have an average response time of two hours
  • Professionals will speak with the client and caregivers during a visit
  • This service is provided by: Integrated Family Services 1-866-437-1821