Michael Lincoln-McCreight is the first person in Florida to terminate his guardianship using Supported Decision-Making (SDM).
Six years ago, Michael was a young adult with a developmental disability who participated in the Sheriff’s Explorers, volunteered at hospitals, went to church, and loved movies. But when a professional guardian filed a petition to find him incapacitated, all that changed. In September 2014, the Circuit Court of St. Lucie County declared Michael incapacitated. Though required by law to consider less restrictive alternatives, the court took away all of Michael's rights and appointed the public guardian to make all decisions for him. Michael's guardian restricted his every move and relationship, making his quality of life worse than before the guardianship.
Wanting to get his independence back, Michael contacted Disability Rights Florida for help. After fighting his case alongside his attorney, in 2016, a St. Lucie County judge finally terminated Michael's guardianship. The judge found that SDM was the least restrictive appropriate alternative to guardianship for Michael and that Michael could exercise his own rights using SDM. Months later, when Michael was invited to a podcast, he finally had the right to accept. He relied on his supporters to travel to Tallahassee, calling his uncle for advice and asking his friend for help buying a bus ticket.
Today, Michael is a Self-Advocate who works with organizations like Stand Up for Independence, Family Care Counsel, and Disability Rights Florida to defend the rights of people with disabilities and promote SDM. Michael co-chairs SDM4FL, a coalition working to pass an SDM law so that all people with disabilities in Florida can have the chance he did to direct their own lives. Michael graduated from Indian River State College in 2020 with a Certificate in Security. Fulfilling his lifelong dream, he now works as a Security Guard for Universal Security Services.
Michael loves visiting Florida's theme parks and hanging out with his friends.
Listen to Michael's podcast episode.
Watch Michael's presentation for Family Cafe 2020 on what SDM is and how he uses it.