Since its inception, the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program has committed itself to giving abused and neglected children a strong voice in our court system. The Program provides advocates who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and are independent from the court and the child welfare system. Guardians ad litem (GALs) are professionals who are paid staff or volunteers and are appointed by the Juvenile or Family Court to represent a maltreated child's best interests in court proceedings.
The State Guardian ad Litem Board was established by legislation in 2010 to administer a statewide, independent guardian ad litem program to advocate for the best interest of children in Juvenile and Family courts.
The Program Administrator, who reports to the board, supervises the program managers from the ten judicial districts. Each judicial district program is configured to service the needs of the judicial district. Within each judicial district, there are part-time and full-time Guardians ad Litem with the Second and Fourth Judicial District utilizing primarily volunteers in addition to paid staff.
The mission of the State Guardian ad Litem Board is to provide well trained, effective guardians ad litem to advocate for safe and permanent homes for the children we represent in Juvenile and Family courts.
The State Guardian ad Litem Board seeks justice for children by:
- Ensuring no child falls through the cracks of our child welfare or family court system because of a lack of an effective guardian ad litem to look after their interests.
- Ensuring the most vulnerable children (pursuant to federal and state mandates) are the top priorities of the entire Judicial Branch.
- Providing competent, cost-effective, and professional services by guardians ad Litem, coordinators, managers and program administration.
- Working as a unified and cohesive team to realize common goals and share statewide resources, ideas, and strategies.
- Providing fair and equitable treatment of guardians ad litem.
- Being accountable, ethical, and professional as individuals and as a system.
- Being sensitive to and competent in areas of culture, race, ethnicity, gender, and the long-term impact of violence and abuse on child development.