Section 12-15-304

Appointment by juvenile courts of guardians ad litem.

(a) In all dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings, the juvenile court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for a child who is a party to the proceedings and whose primary responsibility shall be to protect the best interests of the child.

(b) The duties of the guardian ad litem include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

(1) Irrespective of the age of the child, meet with the child prior to juvenile court hearings and when apprised of emergencies or significant events impacting the child. In addition, the guardian ad litem shall explain, in terms understandable to the child, what is expected to happen before, during, and after each juvenile court hearing.

(2) Conduct a thorough and independent investigation.

(3) Advocate for appropriate services for the child and the family.

(4) Attend all juvenile court hearings scheduled by the juvenile court and file all necessary pleadings to facilitate the best interests of the child.

(c) Before being appointed by the juvenile court, every guardian ad litem appointed in juvenile dependency or termination of parental rights cases shall receive training appropriate to their role.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the juvenile court from appointing trained volunteers in addition to guardians ad litem in promoting the best interests of the child.

(e) A guardian ad litem may be appointed to protect the best interests of more than one child of the same parent. A guardian ad litem also may be appointed to protect the best interests of both a minor (or otherwise incapacitated) parent and the child.

(Acts 1975, No. 1205, p. 2384, §5-138; §12-15-8; amended and renumbered by Act 2008-277, p. 441, §17.)