Denise Flannigan was on Capitol Hill Wednesday fighting for some of our nation’s most vulnerable.

“I believe that everyone believes guardianship is an important issue right now,” Flannigan said.

She is a Guardianship Supervisor in Western PA. That means she over see’s other guardianship agencies as they navigate caring for those who no longer can make decisions for themselves.

Guardianship’s start when a court determines someone is no longer capable of making important decisions about their life and someone else is granted that authority. It can be anyone from the elderly or someone with a disability.

Flannigan said in her role she learned that some agencies in her area were neglecting the patients. In one case, the guardian didn’t properly complete the application for veteran’s benefits and lost the patient over $25,000.

“I would like to see that we have some basic background checks put into place monitoring supervising, expectations for guardianships throughout the United States,” she added.

Now she’s testifying before the Senate Aging Committee, lead by bipartisan Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Bob Casey (D-PA) who are looking to put those checks and balance in place.

“Unfortunately we have too many states where background checks are not required in guardianship circumstances and when that doesn’t happen we can’t have the full measure of protection that we would want,” Casey (D-PA) added.

Casey and the rest of the bipartisan committee are working to ensure guideline are put in place for properly vetting and performing those background checks on all guardians.

According to the National Center for State Courts, there are about 1.3 million adult guardianship cases in the US today.