Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Vermont

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5112

An attorney shall be appointed for a child younger than age 18 who is a party to a proceeding brought under the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters. In addition, a guardian ad litem (GAL) shall be appointed for a child who is a party to a proceeding brought under the juvenile judicial proceedings chapters.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 33, § 5112

In a delinquency proceeding, a parent, guardian, or custodian of the child may serve as a GAL for the child, providing his or her interests do not conflict with the interests of the child. The GAL appointed under this section shall not be a party to that proceeding or an employee or representative of such party.

Specific Duties

Citation: VT Court Rules Fam. Proc., Rule 6.1

The GAL shall act as an independent advisor and advocate whose goal shall be to safeguard the respondent's best interests and legal rights. When the respondent can effectively communicate his or her wishes with respect to any aspect of the proceedings, the GAL's advocacy shall be consistent with the expressed wishes of the respondent, and the GAL shall state no fact nor disclose any opinion in regard to that aspect of the proceeding except with the express consent of the respondent.

Each GAL shall meet with the respondent, the respondent's attorney, and others who may be necessary for an understanding of the issues in the proceeding. The GAL shall not contact the court ex parte nor disclose confidential or privileged information to opposing parties without the express consent of the respondent after consultation with counsel. The GAL shall be familiar with all pertinent pleadings, reports, and other documents. The GAL shall discuss with the respondent and the respondent's attorney all options that may be presented to the court and shall assist the attorney in advising the respondent regarding those options.

How the Representative Is Compensated

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.