Volunteer Guardianship Program of Lorain County (VGP) enhances the quality of life of indigent, incompetent, older adults by providing trained, qualified volunteers and staff to become legal guardians and serve as concerned, caring advocates and surrogate decision-makers when a less restrictive alternative (to guardianship) is not available. Guardians arrange for appropriate housing, ensure benefits are in place, coordinate with direct service providers, make decisions regarding medical treatment, assist with pre-need funeral planning and communicate with the ward’s family or attorney. Our services are provided with compassion and respect in order to uphold the dignity and improve the quality of life of each person we serve.



In 1991 Sr. Diane Toth, a geriatric social worker at St. Joseph Hospital, recognized that there were many people without family or financial means who were in need of a guardian. She assembled a group of professionals in Lorain County to study the need. In 1993 this group became the advisory board for the Volunteer Guardianship Program of Lorain County, and partnered with Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry in Cleveland to administer the program. Since that time, VGP has been the sole provider of guardianship services on behalf of people who are indigent in Lorain County. The program serves older adults who are incapacitated and adults with severe mental illness.  More than 400 people have been served by this program since its inception.

VGP partners include: Lorain County Probate Court, Lorain County Mental Health Board, Lorain County Dept. of Job & Family Services, Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging, Community Foundation of Lorain County, Nord Family Foundation, and Nordson Corporation Foundation.

to make a guardianship referral(Intake) to VGP

CLICK HERE to apply to be a volunteer guardian with VGP

CLICK HERE to apply to be a volunteer attorney with VGP


Read more about VGP by viewing a recent newsletter HERE.



  • Referents must complete an intake form and provide a Statement of Expert Evaluation after which time our professional staff conducts an assessment for the need for guardianship.
  • Not every incompetent person can or will receive services through VGP. The Probate Court encourages VGP to seek less restrictive alternatives to guardianship whenever possible. Guardianship should be the alternative of last resort and VGP should be the guardian of last resort.
  • Referrals for guardianship are accepted from hospitals, nursing homes, families, social service agencies, Probate Court, Adult Protective Services, attorneys, banks, or other organizations.
  • Referrals for private pay wards area also accepted and billed at an hourly basis.



Volunteers are men and women of all ages from all walks of life who have compassion, commitment, patience and a desire to help those who cannot help themselves.  Volunteers receive training, support of an attorney and 24/7 access to program staff and are matched with a ward who resides in one of the Lorain County Communities. Primary tasks of the volunteer guardian include making monthly visits to their ward, advocating on their behalf, making life decisions including health and placement decisions for the ward and keeping the program updated.



For more information contact Cassandra Shella, Program Director, at 440.934.3613 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or write to: 1875 N. Ridge Road E., Suite L, Lorain, OH  44055.



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