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For people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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The Guardianship, Advocacy and Planning Services (GAPS) program was established in 1978. Today the GAPS Program at The Arc Oregon is the only statewide corporate guardianship program in Oregon. We serve over 120 adults in 17 counties throughout the state as guardian, health care representative and/or advocate.  

As a program of The Arc Oregon, GAPS serves individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families and caregivers throughout the state. The GAPS program exists to help ensure a high quality of life for individuals who need someone to help them advocate on their own behalf and who do not have family or friends to represent them.

As with many non-profit programs, The Arc Oregon faces budget considerations which allows us to accept only 3-4 new clients each year for guardianship services, out of 30 to 40 referrals received. You can read more about our funding considerations on the Fees & Funding page, and you can also help support someone in need by donating to our program today.



The Arc Oregon may be appointed guardian by the court for an adult person who is unable to give informed consent and/or advocate on his or her own behalf. As guardian, The Arc Oregon, through the GAPS Program, is responsible for the care, comfort and maintenance of the protected person. This includes establishing the protected person’s place of residence, arranging for support services and making medical decisions. The Oregon Revised Statutes state a guardian should “promote and protect the well-being of the person…and be designed to encourage the development of maximum self-reliance and independence.” The Arc Oregon delivers its guardianship in a manner that respects the individual, assists them in making his or her own decisions when possible, and seeks the least restrictive alternative possible.  We understand the value of Person Centered Planning and promoting self-determination for all individuals. 



Unlike guardianship, The Arc Oregon’s role as an advocate is not legally binding. It is an agreement between an individual, his or her legal representative and The Arc Oregon. The assistance may be temporary or long-term. It may include periodic visits, representation at ISP meetings, attending medical consultations, monitoring services, or reviewing and recommending other supports. 

  • Family Assistance: We may assist families when distance, illness, or other crises prevent them from representing their family member with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
  • Long Term Advocacy Assistance: We may serve as an advocate on a long-term basis for individuals who can no longer rely on parents or family members to assist them. These individuals do not require guardianship protection, but they do need the advice and assistance of a knowledgeable, trusted friend who can advocate for them in an objective, insightful manner.
  • Temporary Advocacy/Ombudsman Assistance: We may serve as a temporary advocate, or ombudsman, to help resolve particular issues, or to ensure the rights, safety and well being of an individual in a crisis situation.



 The Arc Oregon may serve as an appointed Health Care Representative (HCR) as defined in the Oregon Administrative Rule (411-365-0100). The Arc Oregon, by and through the GAPS Local Coordinator, may serve as an HCR for a specific procedure, for a limited time or for a long-term commitment, depending on the Individual Support Plan Team (ISP) and State of Oregon annual re-appointment.

The Arc Oregon may also serve as a Self-appointed Health Care Representative (ORS 127) This appointment is only for those individuals already served by the GAPS program in an advocacy role. Health care decisions previously decided upon by the individual will be honored.


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