There are apparently rich opportunities for supported decision-making within personal support networks. The question, however, is whether these should be formalized in law. Kohn et al. have opined that “it is simply too early to conclude that supported decision-making is an effective decision-making model, much less that supported decision-models should be institutionalized by state actors”. Consistent with these comments, it is likely too early to legally entrench ‘network’ forms of decision-making using a corporate model; it is not yet clear that networks should be given separate legal status to represent personal decisions. However, initial indications are that the approach, while not without difficulties, has the potential to address some of the concerns raised by critics of supported decision-making, therefore warranting further study in light of the factors discussed.
Finally, a call to further research does not preclude interim measures. Personal support networks could also be recognized now, through legal options that rely on existing laws and concepts, paired with government policy and programs geared to helping people create and maintain robust personal support networks. The evidence from the informant interviews suggests that networks can provide meaningful informal supports as well as a community of individuals who might step into the myriad legal roles that will exist in any legal regime. Supporting informal network building could therefore be a sound component of any legal approach, which might help provide security for persons with disabilities and their families.
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