An Act To Amend the Guardian Ad Litem Laws
Sec. 1. 19-A MRSA §1507, sub-§5, as repealed and replaced by PL 2001, c. 253, §3, is amended to read:
Sec. 2. 19-A MRSA §1507, sub-§9 is enacted to read:
Sec. 3. 22 MRSA §4005, sub-§1, as amended by PL 2001, c. 696, §12, is further amended to read:
(1) Review of relevant mental health records and materials;
(2) Review of relevant medical records;
(3) Review of relevant school records and other pertinent materials;
(4) Interviews with the child with or without other persons present; and
(5) Interviews with parents, foster parents, teachers, caseworkers and other persons who have been involved in caring for or treating the child.
The guardian ad litem shall have face-to-face contact with the child in the child's home or foster home within 7 days of appointment by the court and at least once every 3 months thereafter or on a schedule established by the court for reasons specific to the child and family. The guardian ad litem shall report to the court and all parties in writing at 6-month intervals, or as is otherwise ordered by the court, regarding the guardian ad litem's activities on behalf of the child and recommendations concerning the manner in which the court should proceed in the best interest of the child. The court may provide an opportunity for the child to address the court personally if the child requests to do so or if the guardian ad litem believes it is in the child's best interest.
This bill implements the recommendations included in the report "Recommendations for an Improved Process for Complaints Regarding Guardians Ad Litem" submitted to the Supreme Judicial Court in 2012 by the Guardian Ad Litem Task Force, appointed by Chief Justice Saufley.
Current law requires a guardian ad litem appointed in a family matters case to submit a written report to the parties and the court. This bill requires a written report only if the court directs the guardian ad litem to file one.
This bill provides that the Supreme Judicial Court may adopt rules governing guardians ad litem appointed in family matters cases under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 19-A and in child protective cases under Title 22. The rules may cover registration or certification, qualifications, standards of practice, continuing education requirements and discipline. Discipline includes a process to provide for the just determination of complaints from parties in actions under Title 19-A and Title 22.