Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons from Nebraska: NACC’s Evaluation of the State’s Guardian Ad Litem System

The National Association for Counsel of Children’s Evaluation of the Guardian Ad Litem System in Nebraska offers a comprehensive study of the state’s GAL system as requested by the Nebraska legislature. Though strengths were identified in the current system, NACC found that its major challenge was a lack of basic accountability. Particular areas identified as in need of reform include:

  • There is not one GAL system in Nebraska; there are 93 different systems,
  • There is no uniform, comprehensive set of practice standards for GALs to follow
  • GALs do not routinely tell the court what their child-clients’ own views on the case are – in large part because they don’t know what their clients’ views are
  • GALs are insufficiently familiar with their clients’ needs
  • GALs do not receive adequate training or supervision
  • In one county in particular, individual attorneys’ caseloads are crushingly high”

In light of this evaluation and the best practices of other jurisdictions, NACC recommends the establishment of an independent oversight body for GALs and the implementation of several other reforms. Policies for building strong and stable families. Also, sign up on our homepage for email updates about forthcoming content on child abuse and neglect!

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