Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Nevada

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Making The Appointment

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 432B.500; 432B.420

After a petition is filed that a child is in need of protection pursuant to § 432B.490, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the child.

A child who is alleged to have been abused or neglected shall be deemed to be a party to any proceedings under §§ 432B.410 to 432B.590, inclusive. The court shall appoint an attorney to represent the child. The child must be represented by an attorney at all stages of any proceedings held pursuant to §§ 432B.410 to 432B.590, inclusive. The attorney representing the child has the same authority and rights as an attorney representing any other party to the proceedings.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.505

To qualify for appointment as a GAL in a judicial district that does not include a county whose population is less than 100,000, a special advocate must be qualified pursuant to the standards for training of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association or its successor. If such an association ceases to exist, the court shall determine the standards for training.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 432B.500; 432B.505

The following provisions apply to the person appointed as a GAL:

  • Must meet the requirements of § 432B.505 or, if such a person is not available, a representative of an agency that provides child welfare services, a juvenile probation officer, an officer of the court, or another volunteer
  • Must not be a parent or other person responsible for the child's welfare
  • Must not be an attorney appointed to represent the child pursuant to § 432B.420

To qualify for appointment as a GAL in a judicial district that includes a county whose population is less than 100,000, a special advocate must complete an initial 12 hours of specialized training and, annually thereafter, complete 6 hours of specialized training. The training must be approved by the court and include information regarding the following:

  • The dynamics of abuse and neglect of children
  • Factors to consider in determining the best interests of a child, including planning for the permanent placement of the child
  • The interrelationships of the family system, legal process, and child welfare system
  • Skills in mediation and negotiation
  • Federal, State, and local laws affecting children
  • Cultural, ethnic, and gender-specific issues
  • Domestic violence
  • Resources and services available in the community for children in need of protection
  • Child development
  • Standards for GALs
  • Confidentiality issues
  • Other topics the court deems appropriate

Specific Duties

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.500

A GAL appointed pursuant to this section shall do the following:

  • Represent and protect the best interests of the child until excused by the court
  • Thoroughly research and ascertain the relevant facts of each case for which he or she is appointed and ensure that the court receives an independent, objective account of those facts
  • Meet with the child wherever the child is placed as often as necessary to determine that the child is safe and to ascertain the best interests of the child
  • Explain to the child the role of the GAL and, when appropriate, the nature and purpose of each proceeding in his or her case
  • Participate in the development and negotiation of any plans for and orders regarding the child and monitor the implementation of those plans and orders to determine whether services are being provided in an appropriate and timely manner
  • Appear at all proceedings regarding the child
  • Inform the court of the desires of the child, but exercise his or her independent judgment regarding the best interests of the child
  • Present recommendations to the court and provide reasons in support of those recommendations
  • Request the court to enter orders that are clear and specific and, when appropriate, include periods for compliance
  • Review the progress of each case for which he or she is appointed and advocate for the expedient completion of the case
  • Perform other duties the court orders

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 432B.420

Each attorney, other than a public defender or an attorney compensated through a program for legal aid, who is appointed to represent a child is entitled to the same compensation and payment for expenses from the county as provided in §§ 7.125 and 7.135 for an attorney appointed to represent a person charged with a crime.