Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - American Samoa

Date: June 2021

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 45.2017(c); 45.0326(d)

In each case filed under this section, the court appoints a guardian ad litem (GAL) in accordance with § 45.0326.

In all proceedings brought for the protection of a child suffering from abuse or nonaccidental injury, following a report made under § 45.2010, a GAL shall be appointed for this child. The GAL shall have the powers and duties specified in § 45.2017.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.


This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.2017(c)

The GAL is given access to all reports relevant to the case made to or by any public agency or person under this chapter and § 45.0304 and to reports of any examination of the responsible person.

The GAL is charged in general with the representation of the child's interests. To that end he or she may:

  • Make further investigation that he or she considers necessary to ascertain the facts
  • Interview witnesses
  • Examine and cross-examine witnesses in both the adjudicatory and dispositional hearings
  • Introduce and examine his or her own witnesses
  • Make recommendations to the court concerning the child's welfare
  • Participate further in the proceedings to the degree necessary to adequately represent the child

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Ann. Code § 45.2017(d)

If the petition is granted to place the child under the jurisdiction of the court, the costs of the proceeding, including GAL and expert witness fees, may be charged by the court against the person found responsible for the abuse or neglect. If the petition is not granted, the costs may be charged against the Territory of American Samoa.