The NorthStar has been a guiding star for centuries. It was used by explorers to find their way. Channa Copeland, founder of NorthStar Connections, began her journey in advocacy by working with children in the foster care system beginning in 2001. When she met each child for the first time she explained to them that while they may have multiple social workers, foster homes, and service providers they would have only one of her. She would be their constant, their “NorthStar” until their case was closed and they had permanency.
Channa started working with guardianship clients in 2015, she completed the Certified Professional Guardianship training at the University of Washington in 2016. After a few years she noticed a huge gap in services. The most vulnerable adults were not getting guardians due to their lack of ability to pay the costs that come with guardianships. She identified four main groups of people that were unable to get the care they so desperately needed Veterans who only receive a disability pension from the VA; anyone receiving Supplemental Security Income that are institutionalized or hospitalized; the homeless/low income population; and people with disabilities residing in a supported living home. These people are either not allowed by law to pay guardianship fee’s or they do not have the income to do so. So Channa left a job she loved and decided that she would start taking only those individuals who were unable to pay, pro-bono.
When word got out Channa was forced to start turning people down due to the sheer volume of need and her inability to take on that many clients alone. It was then she decided she needed to build a team of professionals that could assist her in serving this specific population and NorthStar was formed.
NorthStar Connections is a program designed to guide the lives of our aging and disabled individuals by providing guardianship as well as life planning tools to those who otherwise may not have access to them. NorthStar is a non-profit, charitable organization, that enables and facilitates people in creating supported decision-making agreements, end-of-life care plans, advanced directives and power of attorneys. NorthStar assists vulnerable adults in benefit application and management, family reunification, hospital discharge planning, and placement in supported facilities when being in the home is no longer an option.