Friday, November 4, 2011

Youth Voice Needed for Children's Code Rewrite!

Please take the poll on the right & comment below! 

We need to know your vote/voice on the following --- do you want to see a judge have to approve if your attorney can also be a GAL for you?   _____Yes            ____No
If your answer was yes, why?    If your answer was no, why?

·       The new Children’s Code Rewrite makes it possible for one person to represent you as your attorney and guardian ad litem.  If you may not be clear on this distinction, what this means is that your attorney represents YOUR interests directly.  A Guardian Ad Litem, sometimes you will hear this as “GAL” – can be an attorney or other individual in place to represent what they feel is in your best interest, even if it’s not what you think is best for you.  The code permits one person serving in both the role of your attorney and GAL only until there presents any conflict, for example, if you feel your attorney is favoring what they think is your best interest over representing what you are wanting to see represented as your interest – and you no longer feel the working relationship with this person is working, as a result of this conflict in professional roles as it relates to your life and your case.
·         Now, there is an opinion by a leader in Fulton County that the law language should be strengthened so that it states that an attorney shall (which means they have to comply) NOT serve also as your GAL, and that they only be allowed to do so if the judge orders that it is appropriate after review.  Fulton County operates off of a client-directed model, which means all of their youth have only attorneys, not people who can do both (meaning, represent you and represent what they think is in your best interest at the same time).
·         The other option is to leave the language as-is, where the law would permit your attorney to serve also as your GAL without requiring permission from the judge to do so, again, only until there is any conflict and then their role in representing you would have to be renegotiated/reassigned.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that a judge should have to approve or at least the conversation be brought up. When I was in foster care, my attorney became my guardian at litem and I like that and it worked out for me. Also CASA was very involved in representing me as well. However, some attorneys are so swamped and may not be as available to cater to a youth's needs so I think that the law should take that into consideration and make provision in the event that that occurs.