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Essay by   •  December 24, 2010  •  Study Guide  •  815 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,121 Views

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The Guardian ad Litem Program is able to represent thousands of children with the help of volunteers. Program volunteers donate countless hours to the children they represent. The unique perspective of volunteers, and their often creative solutions, are highly valued by dependency court judges.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to protect the rights and advocate the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding. The volunteer Guardian ad Litem makes independent recommendations to the court by focusing on the needs of each child. The Guardian ad Litem advocates for the best interests of the child they represent.

A Volunteer Guardian ad Litem is an individual who is appointed by the court to advocate for children who come into the court system primarily as a result of alleged abuse or neglect. Volunteer Guardians ad Litem are:

Individuals who respects a child's inherent right to grow up with dignity in a safe environment that meets that child's best interests.

Individuals who assures that the child's best interests are represented in the court at every stage of the case.

Do I have the qualifications needed to advocate for a child?

If you are concerned for the well being of children and a have continuing commitment to advocate for a child until a safe and permanent home is obtained -- you will be an effective Guardian ad Litem.

If you are objective and nonjudgmental and are able to interact with people of various educational, economic and ethnic backgrounds -- you will be an effective Guardian ad Litem.

Do I need to be an attorney to be a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem?

No. Anyone with common sense, compassion and dedication to children can be a Guardian ad Litem.

How much time must I commit as a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem?

A Guardian ad Litem must successfully complete 30 hours of certification training and 6 hours annually of re certification training, and spend an average of 4-6 hours per month working on the case.

What is the role of the Guardian ad Litem?

The Guardian ad Litem carries out the following activities:

Investigation: Carries out an objective, systematic examination of the situation, including relevant history, environment, relationships, and needs of the child. The GAL interviews family, friends, neighbors and members of the child's school.

Facilitation: Identifies resources and services for the child and facilitates a collaborative relationship between all parties involved in the case, helping to create a situation in which the child's needs are met.

Advocacy: Conveys the best interests of the child to the court and relevant agencies.

Monitoring: Keeps track of whether the orders of the court, as well as the plans of the Department of Children and Families, are carried out.

What are Volunteer Guardian ad Litem responsibilities?

Visits the child and keeps the child informed about the court proceedings;

Gathers and assesses independent information on a consistent basis about the child in order to recommend a resolution that is in the child's best interest;

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