Jackie Baillargeon is the Director of The Guardianship Project, (TGP), a demonstration project of The Vera Institute of Justice. TGP serves as court-appointed agency guardians to a vulnerable, mostly indigent, population of elderly and disabled individuals who lack family or other supports that allow them to live as independently as possible. Employing attorneys, social workers, financial and property managers, TGP offers the most comprehensive guardianship model available in New York to ensure quality representation of individuals who have been deemed by the court to be “incapacitated.” Clients come to TGP with a wide variety of issues, including dementia, serious medical problems, pending evictions, fraud and elder abuse and placement in institutional settings against their will. Our cases involve the coordination of complex legal, case management, property, and health care issues including decisions regarding end-of-life care. In fiscal year 2015 alone, TGP’s Medicaid Savings Analysis shows that $2.5 million dollars were saved by TGP by providing team-based support and keeping incapacitated individuals in the least restrictive setting possible.
Prior to joining Vera, Jackie was the Director of the Gideon Project at the Open Society Foundations (OSF), where she led the foundation's reform efforts related to the death penalty, juvenile justice, indigent defense, and racial profiling. Prior to OSF, she served as a senior trial attorney on matters related to the rights of institutionalized people at the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section; taught at the law schools of American University and Catholic University; was a staff attorney at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless where she represented homeless and near-homeless individuals in administrative, judicial and legislative settings; trained, supervised and counseled private and government volunteer attorneys; provided oversight of class action and impact litigation and engaged in legislative advocacy. Jackie’s first job after clerking was as a staff attorney at the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia where she represented juveniles and adults in the juvenile, misdemeanor, felony and appellate divisions.
Jackie is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Harvard Law School. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Cecil F. Poole of the United States District Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco) and the Honorable William G. Young, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston).