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Guardian ad Litem Success Story 6

Kids’ Voice appointed a GAL for a 6-month-old girl, who was born addicted to drugs, to keep guardianship in place while mother worked on her own drug issues.

Kids’ Voice was appointed to serve as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) for Stephanie when she was six months old. Stephanie’s aunt, Elizabeth, had requested guardianship of Stephanie, who was born addicted to drugs. In addition, Stephanie’s mother, Melissa, refused to keep Stephanie away from her Father, Drake, who was on parole for molesting his older child. Melissa objected to Elizabeth’s appointment as guardian of Stephanie. Lindsay, the Kids’ Voice attorney, assigned Stephanie’s case to a GAL volunteer.

The GAL, assisted by information in Stephanie’s medical records, which were obtained by GAL program assistant Colie, was instrumental in providing the information necessary for the court to keep Elizabeth’s guardianship of Stephanie in place. When Stephanie first came to live with Elizabeth, Stephanie’s weight was too low. Melissa was receiving formula through WIC, but wasn’t able to supplement the formula, so Stephanie wasn’t getting enough to eat.

Over the two years of the GAL’s service on Stephanie’s case, there were several ups and downs in Melissa’s life and the GAL tried to work out some times and places where Melissa could safely see Stephanie.

The hearing on continuing Elizabeth’s guardianship was delayed when Melissa was arrested and jailed on several charges. Melissa’s acquaintance, who worked at the jail, reported to the GAL that Melissa was withdrawing from heroin during her stay. Upon Melissa’s release, she was put on probation and agreed to visit Stephanie in a supervised setting at an agency. Lindsay prepared an agreement that continued Elizabeth’s guardianship of Stephanie and provided visitation for Melissa. Elizabeth, Melissa, and the GAL signed the agreement, which was approved by the court. Lindsay asked the court to release the GAL from serving on Stephanie’s case when Stephanie reached the age of three years. Stephanie continues to thrive and to be safe in Elizabeth’s care.