Effective representation of children by the guardian ad litem: an empirical investigation.

A. B. Sivan and M. Quigley-Rick,
Bull. Amer. Acad. Psychiatry & the Law 19(1): 53-61, 1991.
Guardians ad litem (GALs), designated to represent children's best interests in civil abuse and neglect proceedings, fulfill the role with little direction. This project was designed to develop guidelines for GALs based on the available legal and social science literature as well as empirical surveys of both GALs and persons working closely with them. Data from interviews, questionnaires, and literature reviews were analyzed, and a comparison of the practice of GALs in Iowa with norms derived from the literature survey was made. A training manual was developed to help insure effective representation of children by GALs. This research represents one of the first to examine empirically the behavior of GALs and to make such a comparison with literature and statutes.