Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Indiana

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-32-3-1; 31-9-2-43.2; 31-32-3-2; 31-32-3-3; 31-32-3-4; 31-34-10-3

The juvenile court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) or court-appointed special advocate (CASA), or both, for the child at any time.

The juvenile court may appoint an early intervention advocate for a child who is participating in a preventative program for at-risk children that has been established by the court. An 'early intervention advocate' is a volunteer or staff member of a preventative program who is appointed by the court as an officer of the court to assist, represent, and protect the interests of at-risk children.

A court may not appoint a party to the proceedings, an employee of a party to the proceedings, or a representative of a party to the proceedings as the GAL or CASA for a child involved in the proceedings.

A GAL or CASA need not be an attorney, but the attorney representing the child may be appointed the child's GAL or CASA.

The GAL or CASA may be represented by an attorney.

Before complying with the other requirements of this chapter, the juvenile court shall first determine whether the following conditions make it appropriate to appoint a GAL, CASA, or both for the child:

  • The child is alleged to be a child in need of services due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
  • The parent, guardian, or custodian of a child denies the allegations of a child in need of services petition.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 31-9-2-28

A CASA is a community volunteer to whom the following applies:

  • Has completed a training program approved by the court
  • Has been appointed by a court to represent and protect the best interests of a child
  • May research, examine, advocate, facilitate, and monitor a child's situation

A CASA is a community volunteer who has completed a training program approved by the court that includes training in the identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect and early childhood, child, and adolescent development.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 31-9-2-50

A GAL is an attorney, a volunteer, or an employee of a county program designated under § 33-24-6-4 who has completed training appropriate for the person's role, including training in the identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect and early childhood, child, and adolescent development, as required by 42 U.S.C. 5106a(b)(2)(B)(xiii).

A GAL who is not an attorney must complete the same court-approved training program that is required for a CASA.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-9-2-50; 31-32-3-6; 31-32-3-7; 31-32-3-8

A GAL is an attorney, a volunteer, or an employee of a county program who is appointed by a court to do the following:

  • Represent and protect the best interests of a child
  • Provide the child with services requested by the court, including researching, examining, advocating, facilitating, and monitoring the child's situation

A GAL or CASA shall represent and protect the best interests of the child. The GAL or CASA, or both, shall be considered officers of the court for the purpose of representing the child's interests.

A GAL or CASA serves until the juvenile court enters an order for discharge.

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 31-40-3-1; 31-40-3-2; 31-40-3-3

A juvenile court may order the parent or guardian of the estate of any child for whom a GAL or CASA is appointed to pay to the Probation Department a user fee of not more than $100 for deposit in either of the following:

  • The GAL fund, if a GAL has been appointed
  • The CASA fund, if a CASA has been appointed

The fiscal body of the county shall appropriate money from the GAL fund or the CASA fund to the juvenile courts to provide GAL or CASA services and the costs of representation for the GALs or CASAs.

Money remaining in the GAL fund or CASA fund at the end of the county's fiscal year does not revert to any other fund but continues in the GAL fund or CASA fund.