Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Iowa

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 232.71C; 232.89

In every case involving child abuse that results in a child protective judicial proceeding, whether or not the proceeding arises under this chapter, a guardian ad litem (GAL) shall be appointed by the court to represent the child in the proceedings. A court-appointed special advocate (CASA) may be appointed to act as GAL.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Ann. Stat. §§ 232.2(9); 232.126; 232.89

A CASA is a person duly certified by the child advocacy board created in § 237.16 for participation in the CASA program and appointed by the court to represent the interests of a child in any judicial proceeding to which the child is a party or is called as a witness or relating to any dispositional order involving the child resulting from such proceeding.

The court may appoint a CASA to act as GAL. The CASA shall receive notice of and may attend all depositions, hearings, and trial proceedings to support the child and advocate for the protection of the child. The CASA shall not be allowed to introduce evidence separately or to examine or cross-examine witnesses directly.

The CASA shall submit a written report to the court and to each of the parties to the proceedings containing results of the CASA's initial investigation of the child's case, including, but not limited to, recommendations regarding placement of the child and other recommendations based on the best interests of the child. The CASA shall submit subsequent reports to the court and parties, as needed, detailing the continuing situation of the child's case as long as the child remains under the jurisdiction of the court. In addition, the CASA shall file other reports to the court as required by the court.

Qualifications/Training

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.2(22)

The GAL is appointed by the court to represent the interests of a child in any judicial proceeding to which the child is a party. The duties of a GAL with respect to a child shall include the following:

  • Conducting in-person interviews with the child, if the child's age is appropriate for the interview, and interviewing each parent, guardian, or other person having custody of the child, if authorized by counsel
  • Conducting interviews with the child, if the child's age is appropriate for the interview, prior to any court-ordered hearing
  • Visiting the home, residence, or both home and residence of the child and any prospective home or residence of the child, including each time placement is changed
  • Interviewing any person providing medical, mental health, social, educational, or other services to the child
  • Obtaining firsthand knowledge, if possible, of the facts, circumstances, and parties involved in the case
  • Attending any hearings pertaining to the case
  • If the child is required to have a transition plan developed in accordance with the child's case permanency plan, assisting the transition committee in development of the transition plan

The order appointing the GAL shall grant authorization to the GAL to interview any relevant person and inspect and copy any records relevant to the proceedings, if not prohibited by Federal law. The GAL may also attend any departmental staff meeting, case conference, or meeting with medical or mental health providers, service providers, organizations, or educational institutions regarding the child, if deemed necessary by the GAL.

If authorized by the court, a GAL may continue a relationship with and provide advice to a child for a period of time beyond the child's 18th birthday.

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 232.71C

Before a GAL is appointed, the court shall require the person responsible for the care of the child to complete, under oath, a detailed financial statement. If, on the basis of that financial statement, the court determines that the person responsible for the care of the child is able to bear the cost of the GAL, the court shall so order. In cases where the person responsible for the care of the child is unable to bear the cost of the GAL, the expense shall be paid out of the county treasury.