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Defining the Role of the Guardian ad Litem

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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 Coordinator Amy Schutte, GAL Coordinator First Judicial District

2 Guardian Ad Litem Appointments
Minnesota Statute 260C.163, Subd. 5 Guardian 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 interests Monetary Reasonable efforts: social services must balance best interests of child with family reunification and needs of parents Consideration for parents only in context of child’s best interest

4 GAL Role – the beginning
Emergency Protective Care hearing Information Names, ages of child/ren Reason for removal Appearance: ongoing GAL Meet with family, contact information, role Receive information and recommendations from social services GAL does not typically offer recs or input

5 GAL Role – the beginning (cont.)
Admit/Deny Hearing, First Appearance GAL minimal contact/involvement prior to filing Appearance: ongoing GAL GAL should have petition Meet 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 services Schools Treatment providers Therapists Any other professionals involved Who don’t we talk to?

7 GAL Role – ongoing (cont.)
Sharing/discussing information with social worker Mutual sharing No surprises Visit children (at home or placement) Generally once a month Meet with parents Attend meetings Case planning Placement determination Submit court reports When?

8 GAL & Social Services Respect the roles Communication Professional
Not the “police” Communication Should NEVER go into court “ambush” Reports (if applicable) Discussions prior to court with all parties Attempt to settle differences Collaborative while protecting interests Professional “Stay at the table”

9 GAL & Social Services (cont.)
Involving the GAL Effort from BOTH sides (availability, reaching out) CASE PLANS!!! GALs are involved in development and are signing off on case plans PLACEMENTS GAL are be notified ASAP of changes (prior to if not emergency) Mutual benefits Not a competition Do not withhold information

10 GAL – what we are NOT Guardians The social worker The Judge
Should not be signing documents as such The social worker Do not transport, provide direct services The Judge Our recommendations are not an order! Adversaries We 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 contacts Recommendations without monetary considerations/impediments PURE best interests of child(ren) No competing interests

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