Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Granny Snatching" Outlawed In PA

Information taken from Daily Local News article written on 7/23/2012 by Janet M. Colliton. Full story can be found by clicking this link.

Recently, the Pennsylvania legislative bodies passed a ruling outlawing "granny snatching" in Pennsylvania.  Formally known as the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, this law would address issues surrounding legal guardianship. Before this law was passed, instances of family members taking elderly relatives out of nursing homes or other facilities across state lines while legal guardianship battles were occurring was a fairly well-known occurrence.  This act, known as "granny snatching", was a significant problem for places like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

The example given in the Daily Local News article gives a good example of the problems surrounding granny snatching: "Suppose, for instance, you apply for guardianship in Pennsylvania for your mother who has lived here all her life. Another relative or acquaintance, without your knowledge, signs her out of a personal care home or takes her from home and makes arrangements to transport her out of state. That person files for guardianship in another state. Without a uniform act where each state recognizes the other state’s proceedings, the result could be a nightmare.  Decisions made in one jurisdiction might or might not be enforced in another. Each state could have conflicting orders."

As a result of these problems, many states passed the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. A nationwide legal guardianship law is also being considered so that all states operate under a consistent system. This national law, called the Uniform Guardianship Law,  would establish the concept of a “home state” for proper jurisdiction initially which will reduce confusion later on if the person under guardianship moves across state lines.

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