Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Hawaii

Date: June 2021

Making The Appointment

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 587A-16

The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to serve the child throughout the pendency of the child protective proceedings.

If the child's opinions and requests differ from those being advocated by the GAL, the court shall evaluate and determine whether it is in the child's best interests to appoint an attorney to serve as the child's legal advocate concerning such issues and during the proceedings as the court deems to be in the best interests of the child.

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: Rev. Stat. § 587A-16

Unless otherwise ordered by the court, the GAL shall do the following:

  • Have access to the child
  • Have the authority to inspect and receive copies of any records, notes, and electronic recordings concerning the child that are relevant to the case
  • Be given notice of all hearings and proceedings involving the child, whether civil or criminal, including grand juries, and shall protect the best interests of the child
  • Make face-to-face contact with the child in the child's family home or resource family home at least once every 3 months
  • Report to the court and all parties in writing at 6-month intervals, or as ordered by the court, regarding actions taken to ensure the child's best interests and recommend how the court should proceed in the best interests of that child
  • Inform the court of the child's opinions and requests

The authority to inspect and receive copies of records shall exist even without the consent of the child or individuals and authorized agencies that have control of the child, except that nothing in this section shall override any attorney-client or attorney work-product privilege.

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 587A-16; 571-87

The fees and costs of a GAL appointed pursuant to this section may be paid by the court unless the party for whom counsel is appointed has an independent estate sufficient to pay such fees and costs. The court may order the appropriate parties to pay or reimburse the fees and costs of the GAL and any attorney appointed for the child.

Appointed counsel and the GAL shall receive reasonable compensation for necessary expenses, including travel, the amount of which shall be determined by the court, and reasonable fees. All these expenses and fees shall be certified by the court and paid upon vouchers approved by the judiciary and warrants drawn by the comptroller.

The court shall determine the amount of reasonable compensation paid to appointed counsel and GAL, based on the following rates:

  • $90 an hour for in-court services provided by an attorney licensed to practice law in the State
  • $60 an hour for the following:
    • Out-of-court services provided by a licensed attorney
    • All services provided by a person who is not a licensed attorney, whether performed in court or out of court

The maximum allowable fee shall not exceed the following schedule:

  • Predisposition: $3,000
  • Postdisposition review hearing: $1,000

Payments in excess of any maximum provided for above may be made when the court in which the representation was rendered certifies, based upon representations of extraordinary circumstances attested to by the applicant, that the amount of the excess payment is necessary to provide fair compensation in light of those circumstances, and the payment is approved by the administrative judge of that court.