Monday, May 21, 2012

Guardian ad litem system long overdue for reform

The Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute is the trade organization for guardians ad litem. The institute and its president, Toby Hollander, provide continuing education for the group's members and lobby to improve the lot of guardians ad litem by influencing government decisions.

Guardians ad litem are well placed within Maine's government, and it is surprising that, in spite of this, they have made no moves for guardian ad litem reform.

Two joint standing committees of the Legislature (Government Oversight and Judiciary), the chief justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court and the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability have all stated that there is a significant guardian ad litem oversight problem.

In addition, there are the complaints about guardians ad litem from numerous private citizens, including some Maine legislators. There is now a significant call to action from high places in Maine. Will the institute and Toby Hollander be a part of this call? Trying to influence direction as before?

Where will the consumers be? Let's hope that there is a place for them at the table when guardian ad litem reform is planned.

Creating a well-balanced committee on guardian ad litem oversight will lead to better rules and standards for those who are a part of and use the service.

Consumer protection for children and families from rogue guardians ad litem is desperately needed in Maine today. Maine has an opportunity to create and set the standard for this vital service.


  1. When Maine's Chief Justice says there is no oversight of GALs, when First Star a Child advocacy group from Washington, DC gives Maine an"F" (third year in a row) on their national report card for the legal rights of children and child safety, it is hard to imagine that anyone would be against GAL reform. It's a no brainer.

    1. Judicial reform, i.e. adding domestic violence courts and drug courts everywhere and enabling them to mesh with family court might help, too.

  2. This is certainly true. There is no one that openly opposes GAL reform. There are members of Maine's government though that do not openly support GAL reform. Nancy Sullivan of Biddeford is one member of Maine's government that is helping to bring change and does support GAL reform. A link to her information:

    or on Facebook: