Spotlight on Guardianship

“We strive to make sure individuals who cannot help themselves have the best life possible.”

Catching up with Ruth Givens

Case Manager for the Public Guardianship Program

Ruth Givens has worked at Family Service of Roanoke Valley for nearly 10 years. Previously, she worked as a Social Worker in nursing homes for seven years and as a teacher before that.  She said she’s always had a passion for helping those who cannot help themselves. At Family Service, she serves as a case manager in the Public Guardianship Program and in her role works to make sure people are well cared for, living in a safe and supportive environment to help them grow and thrive and having the support they need.

A Closer Look at Guardianship

Guardianship allows Givens to do what she enjoys, helping others live with dignity and stability. "Our program is appointed guardian over individuals who have no family member or friend willing and able to be their guardian. We work to make sure these individuals are living in safe environments that provides for their welfare in every aspect of their lives," she said. Most referrals for Guardianship come from the Department of Social Services, Community Service Boards, and some hospitals and doctors.

“We strive to help them attain goals that are important to them. We try to help them be as happy and healthy as possible.”

Givens worked with a man who is 40 years old and lived with his grandparents until he was 33. They were unable to continue caring for him and he was sent to Central Virginia Training Center and had a very difficult time adjusting to that environment. He would usually refuse to even leave the building he resided in. It was challenging finding community placement for him because he would not ride in vehicles and exhibited aggressive behavior towards others. He also would try to harm himself. Due to the work of Givens, he was accepted by a group home where he lives with three other individuals that he now views as his family. He was loved and treated with kindness and patience. 

“He now attends a day support program, goes out frequently on community outings, and his self abusive behavior has stopped. He is growing and thriving in this nurturing environment.”