Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - Virgin Islands

Date:

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2542

In every case of child abuse or neglect, the court shall appoint counsel for the child to act in the role of guardian ad litem (GAL).

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2555

The court may appoint a person from a court-appointed special advocates (CASA) program to represent the interests of abused and neglected children in court proceedings. By court order, court rule, or other written agreement with a CASA program, the court will define the working relationship between the program and the court. The court may appoint a CASA program member to represent a child as a GAL.

Qualifications/Training

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2542

Such counsel shall be willing and competent by training or experience in representing the interests of a child in such proceedings.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2542

The GAL shall be given access to all reports relevant to the case and to any reports of examination of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian. The GAL shall be charged with the representation of the child's rights, welfare, interests, and well-being and to advocate the child's viewpoint. To these ends, the GAL shall make such further investigation as he or she deems necessary.

In addition, the GAL may interview witnesses, examine and cross-examine witnesses, introduce other evidence, make recommendations to the court, and participate in the proceedings to the degree appropriate for adequately representing the child.

How the Representative Is Compensated

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.