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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 148255 Find in a Library
Title: Some Areas of Interface Between Psychology and the Guardian Ad Litem Programs in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Settings (From Psychology and Law: International Perspectives, P 404-410, 1992, Friedrich Losel, Doris Bender, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-148224)
Author(s): S B McPherson
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Walter de Gruyter & Co
1 Berlin 30, Germany United
Sale Source: Walter de Gruyter & Co
Genthiner Str 13
1 Berlin 30,
Germany (Unified)
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: Germany (Unified)
Annotation: The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (P.L. 93- 247), enacted by Congress in 1974, contains provisions for the appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL) in every juvenile court cases in the United States involving child abuse or neglect.
Abstract: States have also developed GAL programs to serve both juvenile and domestic relations courts. The goal of GAL's is to advocate for the child's best interests; to accomplish this goal, they use the services of mental health professionals (MHP's). In one county, a GAL program began as an unstructured, semivolunteer effort of lawyers and judges. Later, a judge decided that the need for specialized domestic relations GAL's would best be met in a program separate from the juvenile GAL program. Interviews were conducted with a panel of experts. Recognizing that MHP's often lack courtroom training, the sample was asked what was most helpful to them in dealing with the legal arena. Once the county's domestic relations GAL program was started, GAL's envisioned many roles for MHP's in the court system, including therapist, mediator, visitation supervisor, catalyst, intervener, and abuse evaluator. Judges varied in their approach to GAL appointments. Factors favoring appointments were judicial perception of need based on children's situations or a request by both parties. Perceived need occurred when the position of parties regarding children was not clear, when allegations of sexual or physical abuse were made, and with special needs children. The effectiveness of the county's juvenile and domestic relations GAL programs is assessed in terms of how they represent children's interests. 5 references
Main Term(s): Child victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse; Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; Family courts; Guardian ad litem; Juvenile courts; Juvenile dependency and neglect; Juvenile mental health services
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