Role of a Guardian Ad Litem in a Westport Child Endangerment Case

A Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney that is appointed for a child. Even though the child is not a party to a risk of injury case in Westport, there is a criminal statute that allows the arrested person’s attorney to request a Guardian Ad Litem to be appointed for the child. This means that the Guardian Ad Litem is appointed, will meet with the child who is the alleged victim in the case, and will assess the child, the child’s interests, and the child’s needs, in order to communicate the child’s interests to the court. A skilled child endangerment lawyer can help you clarify the role of a Guardian Ad Litem in a Westport child endangerment case.

What is the Purpose of Ad Litem?

A Guardian Ad Litem serves as an unbiased party who meets with the child to determine what is in the best interest of the child and what the child actually wants, and then tells the court what the child wants. The GAL also gets to assess the child’s safety and represent that position to the judge. If it is some sort of domestic violence case in which the child was asleep upstairs when the person was arrested and the child was not actually at risk, it is often good to have a Guardian Ad Litem to be appointed so that the child can tell the guardian ad litem that they are not afraid of whoever was arrested, that they are safe in the home, and that he or she wants the parent to come home. The role of a Guardian Ad Litem in a Westport child endangerment case can be to communicate that to the judge, and it holds a little bit more water than if the defendant’s attorney says that to the judge.

Reporting Risk of Injury Cases

Any mandated reporter who thinks that a child is at risk is required by law to report it to Westport DCF. If a police officer finds a child in a car and he or she conducts an arrest for leaving a child unsupervised in a vehicle, that officer automatically has to report it to DCF. Another example would be if a child goes to school and says that he or she is being abused at home, that teacher or whoever they report that to, automatically has to report that to DCF, and that can also lead to a risk of injury charge.

Who Are Mandated Reporters Under Law?

Under Westport law, mandated reporters can be a whole range of people. Anyone who works for the Department of Children and Family is a mandated reporter, as well as teachers, law enforcement professionals, police officers, EMT workers, doctors, nurses, dentists, babysitters, coaches, and basically any professional who works with children.

Benefit of Appointing a Guardian Ad Litem

There are a few benefits. One of them is that sometimes these risk of injury arrests come in scenarios in which people are getting divorced or the arrest is used in a fashion that is meant to use the child as a form of punishment to the defendant. It is helpful to utilize the role of a Guardian Ad Litem in a Westport child endangerment case because the GAL is an unbiased third party who can speak to the child and really get to the bottom of whether or not the child feels afraid or whether or not the child should be allowed to return home. It is not just hearing from an estranged wife or husband whether or not the person is dangerous, appearing from an unbiased third party. Another benefit is that it really does assess the safety of the child. If the child is in need or is in danger, that guardian Ad Litem is there to make sure that the child is not put into a position of danger again.

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