Without Kids’ Voice and the Guardian ad Litem, the court would never have had the information needed to protect 9-year-old child.
The court appointed Kids’ Voice as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to investigate whether 9-year-old Jaylen should live with Sandy, his mother, or George, his father. At the time, Jaylen lived with George. During her investigation, the GAL volunteer discovered that Jaylen’s best interests were not being served with George. George and Jaylen resided with Jaylen’s paternal aunt, Laura. Laura was married to Tom. Jaylen had been molested by Tom before Kids’ Voice was assigned to the case. Jaylen had disclosed the molestation to a family member. DCS investigated and found that the evidence confirmed Jaylen was molested.
Tom was convicted of molesting Jaylen and served time in jail. Upon Tom’s release, George was still allowing contact between Jaylen and Tom, partly because George did not believe that Tom had molested Jaylen. George had actually testified on Tom’s behalf at Tom’s criminal trial. George became so upset with Jaylen for disclosing the molestation that George dropped Jaylen off at Sandy’s house and refused to speak to Jaylen for a month. Jaylen understood what was going on and carried the blame for Tom’s incarceration. George never seemed to understand how his actions had harmed Jaylen. When Kids’ Voice was appointed to the case, Colie, the GAL Program legal assistant, checked Tom’s criminal records, and discovered that Tom was back in jail for violating his probation by having contact Jaylen. Colie also discovered that Tom would soon be released from jail. George still resided with Laura and claimed that Tom was not returning to Laura’s home upon his release. But, through the GAL’s diligent efforts, she discovered that Tom had given Laura’s address to his probation officer for his release. The GAL alerted Tom’s probation officer that Jaylen lived with Laura at the address Tom had provided. Emily, the Kids’ Voice attorney, filed the GAL’s preliminary report.
After an emergency hearing, the court modified temporary custody of Jaylen to Sandy based on information from the GAL. The GAL also learned that George had begun dating a woman who had pending criminal charges for using cocaine and had a history of other violent felony convictions. The GAL submitted two additional reports to the court, and Emily presented the GAL’s testimony at the final hearing. The judge issued an order that adopted the GAL’s recommendation for Jaylen to live with Sandy. Sandy was not represented by an attorney, so without Kids’ Voice and the GAL, the court would never have had the information needed to protect Jaylen.