Presentation on theme: "Defining the Role of the Guardian ad Litem"— Presentation transcript:
1 Defining the Role of the Guardian ad Litem Laura Miles, GAL CoordinatorAmy Schutte, GAL CoordinatorFirst Judicial District
2 Guardian Ad Litem Appointments Minnesota Statute 260C.163, Subd. 5Guardian ad litem.(a) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the minor when it appears, at any stage of the proceedings, that the minor is without a parent or guardian, or that the minor's parent is a minor or incompetent, or that the parent or guardian is indifferent or hostile to the minor's interests, and in every proceeding alleging a child's need for protection or services under section 260C.007, subdivision 6, except proceedings where the sole allegation is that the child is a runaway or habitual truant. In any other case the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to protect the interests of the minor when the court feels that such an appointment is desirable.
3 GAL – what for? Advocate purely for best interests of child(ren) No competing interestsMonetaryReasonable efforts: social services must balance best interests of child with family reunification and needs of parentsConsideration for parents only in context of child’s best interest
4 GAL Role – the beginning Emergency Protective Care hearingInformationNames, ages of child/renReason for removalAppearance: ongoing GALMeet with family, contact information, roleReceive information and recommendations from social servicesGAL does not typically offer recs or input
5 GAL Role – the beginning (cont.) Admit/Deny Hearing, First AppearanceGAL minimal contact/involvement prior to filingAppearance: ongoing GALGAL should have petitionMeet family, talk with social worker (if no EPC)Discuss placement, family options (if applicable)
6 GAL Role - ongoing Continue with same GAL unless conflict Gather information from collateral sources INDEPENDENT of social servicesSchoolsTreatment providersTherapistsAny other professionals involvedWho don’t we talk to?
7 GAL Role – ongoing (cont.) Sharing/discussing information with social workerMutual sharingNo surprisesVisit children (at home or placement)Generally once a monthMeet with parentsAttend meetingsCase planningPlacement determinationSubmit court reportsWhen?
8 GAL & Social Services Respect the roles Communication Professional Not the “police”CommunicationShould NEVER go into court “ambush”Reports (if applicable)Discussions prior to court with all partiesAttempt to settle differencesCollaborative while protecting interestsProfessional“Stay at the table”
9 GAL & Social Services (cont.) Involving the GALEffort from BOTH sides (availability, reaching out)CASE PLANS!!!GALs are involved in development and are signing off on case plansPLACEMENTSGAL are be notified ASAP of changes (prior to if not emergency)Mutual benefitsNot a competitionDo not withhold information
10 GAL – what we are NOT Guardians The social worker The Judge Should not be signing documents as suchThe social workerDo not transport, provide direct servicesThe JudgeOur recommendations are not an order!AdversariesWe work with others for best outcome for child(ren)
11 Benefits of a GAL “Eyes and Ears” of the court ANOTHER set More family and child contactsRecommendations without monetary considerations/impedimentsPURE best interests of child(ren)No competing interests