Wednesday, February 11, 2015

LD 349, SP 132, 127th Legislature An Act To Ensure Accountability of Guardians Ad Litem

Summary of this bill:

1. Removes the quasi-judicial immunity provided to guardians ad litem by statute;

2. Allows a cause of action and the award of punitive damages against guardians ad litem who falsely accuse parties of abuse or neglect or who intentionally exclude relevant information from reports to the parties or the court;

3. Requires the court to impose limits on the extent of investigations to be undertaken by a guardian ad litem;

4. Requires all guardians ad litem to have a minimum amount of completed course work in social work; and

5. Requires the court to set expenditure limits on guardian ad litem fees and any other costs incurred in investigations or the completion of the duties of the appointment.

The bill may be found here: 127th Legislature

You may also find out about other bills relating to Family Court and Guardian ad litem here.

This Bill was presented by Senator DUTREMBLE of York.
Cosponsored by Representative CRAFTS of Lisbon and Senator: PATRICK of Oxford, Representatives: FECTEAU of Biddeford, SHAW of Standish, SHORT of Pittsfield, VEROW of Brewer, WOOD of Sabattus.

If you would like to give testimony with regards to Family Court and Guardian ad litem reform please contact us at or find us on Facebook.


  1. On the summary of this account. Item #4 is a little disturbing where the GAL is required to have a minimum amount of completed course work dealing with social work. The GAL is only an investigator to determine whether parents are/ or can take care of their child(ren). If there is a threat to the child.

    Currently the teaching of GALs in the state and across the country – there is no means of determining whether or not they (the GAL) has any understanding of what is being taught. There is no test at the end to validate whether or not the GAL has an understanding of what has been taught. It is like a doctor being taught a surgical procedure and in the end because he/she sat through the course(s) is now allowed to practice this procedure.

    To expand on this idea even more. What happens if a GAL whose underlying profession is in Social Work and has been assigned to a case and malpractices. Will this mean that a complaint can be filled against the GAL in court and the licensing board? Where is the line drawn between the GAL who uses Judicially taught social worker skills and the GALs underlying profession of being a social worker?

    This item should be taken out of the bill as it will only make the already muddy waters even muddier.

  2. Teaching Social Work to GALs will encourage them to do Social Work. At $200.00 per hour this is very expensive Social Work, and, apart from GAL/Social workers, a few hours of Social Work teaching to a lawyer is meaningless.. Any teaching should be goal oriented: what is the aim; what do do GALs need to know? The really need to know the "Rules for GALs" (by heart). It is their functional job description. Many GALs don't know their Rules. They need to be taught and then tested on their Rules to be sure. $200.00 per hour for "service" should have some educational "quality assurance". Basic issue do they know what their job is all about, ie the Rules?.