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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193905 Find in a Library
Title: Guardian Ad Litem Placement May Shift for Reasons of Funding and Conflict of Interest
Corporate Author: Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
United States of America
Project Director: Kathy McGuire
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
Tallahassee, FL 32302
Sale Source: Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability
111 West Madison Street, Rm. 312
P.O. Box 1735
Tallahassee, FL 32302
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: News/Media
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report presents the findings of a review of Florida's Guardian Ad Litem Program, which provides courtroom representation and advocacy for abused, neglected, or abandoned children by using a combination of law volunteers, paid staff, and attorneys.
Abstract: Florida law requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem to provide courtroom advocacy and represent the best interests of a child in all dependency cases in which a child is the victim of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; in all cases of marriage dissolution, custody, visitation, or parental responsibility in which there are verified allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment; and in all criminal proceedings in which a minor or person with mental retardation is a victim of or witness to a sexual offense. The review addressed three questions: What are the advantages and disadvantages of moving the responsibility for program oversight from the Office of the State Courts Administrator to another governmental entity? Is the program sharing best practices among circuits to help the program meet its statutory mandate? Does the program have strategies for maximizing the use of Federal funds? The review notes that each placement option that has been suggested for program oversight has both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages and disadvantages for each option are assessed by the criteria of costs and independence from conflict. In considering whether the program is sharing best practices among circuits, the review concludes that the program has not systematically identified or disseminated best practices, but a newly formed State association should improve these opportunities. Finally, in addressing whether the program has strategies for maximizing the use of Federal funds, the review advises that there are limited Federal funds available for guardian-ad-litem programs, and Florida has made a good effort to secure these limited resources. 4 exhibits
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Child abuse and neglect hearings; Court management; Family courts; Florida; Funding sources; Guardian ad litem; State laws
Note: OPPAGA Information Brief, Report No. 02-10, February 2002.
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