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IV. Authority of Guardian ad Litem

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   A.  Access to Information and Juvenile

   1. The guardian ad litem is entitled to receive all pleadings; notices, to include timely notices of change of placement; and orders of the court filed in the proceeding, and should make reasonable efforts to obtain complete copies of the same.

   2. The guardian ad litem is entitled to receive copies of all case plans and court reports prepared by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, and any Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), as well as reports, summaries, evaluations, records, letters, and documents prepared by any other provider which the guardian ad litem deems relevant to the best interests or legal rights of any juvenile represented by the guardian ad litem. Where these documents are not provided as a matter of course to the guardian ad litem, they shall be provided upon the request of the guardian ad litem.

   3. The guardian ad litem, standing in lieu of the parent for a protected juvenile who is the subject of a juvenile court petition[1] shall also have the same right as the juvenile’s legal guardian to (1) obtain information from all professionals and service providers, including but not limited to verbal communications and written reports, summaries, opinions, and evaluations, and information regarding the juvenile’s placement; and (2) to receive notice of and participate in all conferences, staffings or team meetings, and hearings relating to the juvenile’s health, education, placement, or any other matter which in the opinion of the guardian ad litem is relevant to, or which affects, the best interests or legal rights of the juvenile.

   4. The guardian ad litem is authorized to communicate with and respond to inquiries for information regarding the juvenile made by the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, the Department of Health and Human Services case manager, or CASA.

   5. The guardian ad litem is authorized to make announced or unannounced visits to the juvenile at his or her home or placement or at any location at which the juvenile may be present.

   6. The court should facilitate the guardian ad litem’s authority to obtain information regarding the juvenile by including the following language, or language substantially similar thereto, in its initial order of appointment of the guardian ad litem:

 

“The guardian ad litem appointed herein by this Court shall have full legal authority to obtain all information which relates to the above-named juvenile.

 

“To that end, the guardian ad litem is hereby authorized by this Court to communicate verbally or in writing with any agency, organization, person, or institution, including but not limited to any school personnel, counselor, or drug or alcohol treatment provider; or police department or other law enforcement agency; any probation, parole, or corrections officer; any physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, nurse, or mental health care provider; or any hospital, clinic, group home, treatment group home, residential or mental health treatment facility, or youth rehabilitation treatment center; any social worker, case manager, or social welfare agency, including the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and its employees and administrators; any person or agency or institution charged with supervising visitation; or any family member, guardian, foster parent, or any other person.

 

“The guardian ad litem is further hereby authorized to obtain from all persons, organizations, or entities, including but not limited to those described in the paragraph above, all information, including but not limited to the inspection of, and obtaining of complete copies of records, reports, summaries, evaluations, correspondence, written documents, or other information, orally or in any media form, which relate to the above-named juvenile even if such information concerns his or her parents, or any other person or any situation that the guardian ad litem deems necessary in order to properly represent the juvenile’s interests.”

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[1]       Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 43-272(2) and 43-272.01(2)(a) (2004).

 

 

This page was last modified on Sunday, November 11, 2012