Bette J. Dick GAL for Kids
Guardian ad Litem
The Kids’ Voice of Indiana Bette J. Dick GAL for Kids Program provides guardian ad litem (GAL) services for children using trained, supervised, represented community volunteers and pro bono attorneys. The program is appointed to represent and protect the best interest of the children by judicial officers of the Marion Superior Courts, Civil Division and Probate Division and the Marion Circuit Court, Paternity Division. Judicial officers determine whether to appoint the Bette J. Dick GAL for Kids to (GAL) provide guardian ad litem representation for a child in a specific case. Judicial officers may appoint Kids’ Voice on the motion of a party or on the Court’s own Motion. Appointments are usually made when children are alleged to be at risk due to abuse, neglect, or, endangerment. Staff of Kids’ Voice are responsible for assigning the case to an appropriate volunteer. Counsel for the parties and pro se parties are notified of the assigned volunteer’s name by an Oath and Acceptance which is mailed to them.
The Kids' Voice volunteer is not a professional custody evaluator. The volunteer is a trained GAL whose role is to represent and protect the best interests of the child pursuant to I.C. 31-9-2-50 (GAL). Indiana law states that the GAL shall provide the child with services requested by the court, including researching, examining, advocating, facilitating, or monitoring the child’s situation. The GAL volunteer usually provides a written report to the court. The report is sent to counsel for the parties or pro se parties. The report must not be shown to the child. The GAL cannot act as a mediator, parenting time coordinator, or provide supervised visitation.
Kids' Voice periodically trains community volunteers for the Bette J. Dick GAL for Kids Program. Volunteers learn about their roles and responsibilities, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health issues, interviewing, report writing, relevant statutes, court procedures, and testifying in court. Indiana law requires that volunteers who are not attorneys complete a training program in order to serve as a GAL. Attorneys are provided written materials and have the option of attending the training program.
Serving as a GAL is a valuable way for attorneys to complete their pro bono requirement outlined in Indiana Rule of Professional Conduct 6.1.
After case assignment all GAL volunteers for Kids’ Voice receive supervision and legal representation by Kids' Voice staff or volunteer attorneys. Contact attorney Lindsay Faulkenberg at 558-2870 ext. 333 or email@example.com if you are interested in serving as a GAL in the Bette J. Dick GAL for Kids Program. If you are an attorney, ask Ms. Faulkenberg about the free Continuing Legal Education Seminar for attorneys who volunteer to serve as GALs. If you are a community volunteer, ask Ms. Faulkenberg about the next community volunteer class.