Kids’ Voice Guardian ad Litem report and testimony keeps toddler in safe home with guardian instead of abusive father.
Marion Superior Court, Probate Division appointed Kids’ Voice to serve as the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for 1-year-old Blake and to represent his best interests. At the time of the appointment, Blake’s maternal grandmother, Caroline, was Blake’s legal guardian. Blake was born prematurely and with cocaine in his system.
When Kids’ Voice was appointed, Blake’s father, Ronald, was attempting to gain custody of Blake. Blake’s mother, Holly, was incarcerated. Blake’s volunteer GAL, an attorney who worked at Legal Aid Society, learned that Ronald was also the father of Maria and Isabella, who were residing in foster care in Kentucky.
Ronald had been criminally charged with neglect of a dependent because he left Kentucky, placing Maria and Isabella in the care of another adult who had been convicted of child molesting. Maria and Isabella were injured in a car accident in Ronald’s absence. Ronald had also been shot by his girlfriend at his home in Kentucky when he had the care of Maria and Isabella. Blake had significant developmental delays due to his circumstances at birth. Ronald did not fully understand or believe that these delays existed; therefore, the GAL was very concerned for Blake if the Court terminated Caroline’s guardianship and placed Blake in Ronald’s care.
The GAL prepared a report, which was filed by Andrea, the Kids’ Voice attorney. Andrea called the GAL as a witness at the Court hearing and presented her testimony. The GAL recommended that Caroline’s guardianship of Blake continue. The GAL also recommended that Ronald have only agency supervised visitation with Blake. The Court followed the GAL’s recommendations, continued Caroline’s guardianship of Blake, and appointed the Kids’ Voice Safe Child Parenting Time Program to supervise Ronald’s visits with Blake.
Blake was receiving developmental therapy twice a month. The GAL recommended that Blake’s therapy appointments alternate between Caroline and Ronald, to allow Ronald to become informed about Blake’s developmental needs. Blake was able to see Ronald in a safe environment at Kids Voice, with the therapist providing education to Ronald once per month.