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Guardians ad litem need more support as they are working in a broken system that negatively affects Montana's youth. Guardians ad litem perform their jobs without training requirements, clear job descriptions, oversight, or financial regulation. It would be incredibly difficult to do a job well without these key pieces, yet guardians ad litem are expected to do so.

Here is an illustration of these crucial elements:

1) Guardians ad litem are not required to have any basic knowledge surrounding child development, domestic violence or child abuse, which are frequently issues within the contentious divorce cases that guardians ad litem assist with.

2) There's no established grievance process for parents working with a GAL.

3) Guardians ad litem have judicial immunity.

4) there are no financial guidelines for guardians ad litem to follow when charging parents, which can lead to financial difficulties for the parents.

5) They have no supervision in their positions.

Although many guardians ad litem are well intentioned, without clear guidelines and supervision it would be easy to misrepresent the children they are there to speak for. I encourage Montanans to take an interest in this legislative issue and work to support the creation of guidelines that ensure our children are represented in the most accurate way possible.

Amy Allison

Missoula

 

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