Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - New Hampshire

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:10

In cases involving a neglected or abused child, the court shall appoint a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) or other approved program guardian ad litem (GAL) for the child. If a CASA or other approved program GAL is unavailable for appointment, the court may then appoint an attorney or other GAL for the child. The court shall not appoint an attorney for any GAL appointed for the child. The CASA or other approved program GAL shall have the same authority and access to information as any other GAL. For purposes of this paragraph, 'unavailable for appointment' means that there is no CASA or other approved program GAL available for appointment by the court following a finding of reasonable cause at the preliminary hearing held under § 169-C:15 so that the child's interests may be represented effectively in preparation for and at an adjudicatory hearing.

In cases involving a neglected or abused child, when the child's expressed interests conflict with the recommendation for dispositional orders of the GAL, the court may appoint an attorney to represent the interests of the child.

In any case of neglect or abuse brought pursuant to this chapter, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child. In addition, the court may appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent not alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child if the parent is a household member and such independent legal representation is necessary to protect the parent's interests. The court shall not appoint an attorney to represent any other persons involved in a case brought under this chapter.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Rev. Stat §§ 169-C:10; 490-C:6

The CASA-GAL shall have the same authority and access to information as any other GAL.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire shall be accountable to the Guardian ad Litem Board for complying with the training requirements established by the board under § 490-C:5 and for the actions of its volunteer members who are appointed by the court as GALs.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 490-C:5-a; Admin. Rules, Gal 303.02

To be eligible for initial certification, recertification, reinstatement, or renewal of certification as a GAL, an applicant shall be of good character and shall meet such criteria or requirements as may be established by the Guardian ad Litem Board.

Certification issued by the board shall be valid for 3 years from the date of issuance and shall expire 3 years from the date of issuance, unless renewed or reissued pursuant to rules adopted by, and upon payment of fees established in, the rules of the board. If timely and sufficient application has been made in accordance with board rules for renewal of certification, the existing certification shall not expire until the board has taken final action on the application for renewal.

Conditional or temporary certification as a GAL shall be according to the criteria, terms, requirements, procedures, and duration established by the board.

In regulation: Within 3 years of submitting an application for initial certification as a GAL, the applicant shall complete the following training:

  • A course of general GAL training
  • A course of court-specific training
  • The State of New Hampshire child impact seminar
  • Four hours of shadowing a certified GAL in court

General GAL training shall consist of 8 hours of training commissioned by the Guardian ad Litem Board that encompasses instruction in at least the following areas:

  • An overview of the role of GALs in New Hampshire
  • The composition and duties of the GAL board
  • GAL training, the GAL certification application process, and complaint processes relative to GALs in New Hampshire
  • The standards of practice, court rules, guidelines, codes of ethics, administrative rules, and statutes applicable to GALs in New Hampshire
  • The dynamics of family groups, including, but not limited to, the broad range of ways in which families of different social, cultural, and economic backgrounds may meet the needs of children
  • Professionalism in GAL practice, the professional roles of other individuals involved in cases in New Hampshire in which a GAL may be involved, and the scope and limits of GAL practice
  • The liabilities and immunities applicable to GALs in New Hampshire
  • Techniques and strategies for the gathering of complete and reliable information regarding issues within the scope of the GAL's appointment
  • The resources available to the parties from the State or from private agencies to address issues that may arise in cases in which GALs may be appointed
  • Business transactions
  • Domestic violence training
  • The role of GALs in dealing with witnesses and victims
  • The role of GALs participating in hearings and posthearing obligations
  • Report writing and investigations

Court-specific GAL training shall consist of 8 hours of study that encompasses the following types of cases:

  • Abuse and neglect
  • Permanency planning
  • Children in need of services
  • Delinquent children
  • Custody
  • Parental rights and responsibilities
  • Domestic violence
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Guardianships of minors and incapacitated adults
  • Estates and criminal law (for attorneys only)

Specific Duties

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 169-C:10

When an attorney is appointed as counsel for a child, representation may include counsel and investigative, expert, and other services, including process to compel the attendance of witnesses, as may be necessary to protect the rights of the child.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court shall adopt rules regarding the duties and responsibilities of the CASA-GAL or other GAL appointed for the child.

How the Representative Is Compensated

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.