Successful Children’s Law Center presentation for pro bono attorneys in Lake County.

A judge from Lake County contacted the Children’s Law Center to request that the Law Center prepare legal materials for and present a full-day attorney training program for pro bono attorneys in Lake County. The judge needed more attorneys who were willing to volunteer their time to provide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) services for low-income families whose custody cases were being heard in the judge’s court. The judge was particularly interested in assigning pro bono attorneys to serve as GALs in cases where child abuse and neglect allegations had been made, and in cases where children were being emotionally harmed by high levels of parental conflict. The judge had funding to pay for a venue and lunch for the training and to copy the materials, but asked the Law Center attorneys, Andrea, Katie, and Derelle, to donate their time to prepare legal materials and provide the training. The Law Center attorneys prepared an intensive curriculum about GAL roles, responsibilities, and duties, including information on substantive law concerning custody, parenting time, and guardianship. The Law Center attorneys also organized information from the Kids’ Voice attorney volunteer manual that would be relevant to attorneys who were providing GAL services on their own without the assistance of an agency.

Andrea, Katie, and Derelle traveled to Lake County and presented a full day of training for attorneys from Lake, Porter, La Porte, and other northern Indiana counties. The 60 attorneys and 2 social workers who attended the full-day presentation were pleased with the Law Center presentation, and asked thought-provoking questions.