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									Lawyers-Guardian Ad Litem Survey Results




 The purpose of this survey is to evaluate
   the current working environment for
   Lawyers-Guardian Ad Litem (LGAL).




1. Circuit court of practice:

185 Responses. NOTE: This information is self reported
and not all participants answered these questions and
several work in multiple jurisdictions.
                                       County/Response
Barry/2                  Grand Traverse/1                Livingston/7   Otsego/1
Bay/2                    Gratiot/3                       Macomb/18      Ottawa/4
Benzie/2                 Houghton/1                      Manistee/1     Presque Isle/1
Berrien/1                Ingham/5                        Mason/1        Roscommon/1
Calhoun/1                Ionia/2                         Mecosta/1      St. Joseph/1
Cass/2                   Iosco/2                         Midland/4      Sanilac/2
Cheboygan/1              Isabella/2                      Monroe/6       Shiawassee/1
Dickinson/1              Jackson/3                       Montcalm/5     Tuscola/1
Eaton/3                  Kalamazoo/4                     Muskegon/4     Van Buren/3
Emmet/3                  Kent/20                         Newaygo/1      Washtenaw/11
Genesee/3                Keweenaw/1                      Oakland/28     Wayne/22
Gladwin/1                Lapeer/4                        Ogemaw/2
2. County of practice:

187 Responses.
                              County/Response
Allegan/1           Emmet/3                   Keweenaw/1     Muskegon/4
Antrim/1            Genesee/3                 Lapeer/4       Oakland/19
Arenac/2            Gladwin/1                 Lenawee/1      Oceana/1
Baraga/2            Gogebic/1                 Livingston/7   Ogemaw/2
Barry/2             Gratiot/1                 Luce/1         Osceola/2
Bay/2               Houghton/2                Mackinaw/1     Ottawa/4
Berrien/1           Ingham/6                  Macomb/19      Presque Isle/2
Calhoun/1           Ionia/7                   Manistee/2     Roscommon/1
Cass/2              Iosco/1                   Mason/1        Sanilac/1
Clinton/5           Isabella/1                Mecosta/4      St. Joseph/1
Crawford/1          Jackson/3                 Midland/4      Tuscola/2
Dickinson/1         Kalamazoo/5               Monroe/6       Van Buren/3
Eaton/4             Kent/21                   Montcalm/3     Washtenaw/11
                                                             Wayne/20
Background          Number of Responses
3. How many years have you been serving
as a LGAL for children in child protective
proceedings in Michigan?
0-5 years                                65
6-10 years                               46
11-15 years                              25
More than 15                             53
Total                                   189




4. How many child protective cases do you
accept per year as an LGAL for a child?
For the purpose of this question each
family, even with multiple children, is
considered one case.
0-10 cases                               83
11-20 cases                             58
21-30 cases                             19
More than 30                            29
Total                                  189




5. How many child protective cases do you
accept per year representing a parent? For
the purpose of this question each family,
even with multiple children, is considered
one case.
0-10 cases                              89
11-20 cases                             57
21-30 cases                             24
More than 30                            20
Total                                  190




6. On average how many individual
children do you represent as an LGAL per
year?
0-20                                    94
21-40                                   57
41-60                                   20
61-80                                      9
81-100                                     4
101-200                                    0
Over 200                                   6
Total                                  190




Training
7. Have you had training in any of the
following areas in the past five years?
Please check all that apply.
Michigan Judicial
Institute LGAL training                   79
Child development                         37
Child interviewing                        42
Attachment disorders                      28
Psychotropic medication                   23
Substance abuse                           56
Domestic violence                         63
Mental illness                            53
Sexual abuse                              41
Role of DHS (e.g., foster
care worker, CPS
worker, adoption worker)                  50
Role of other
stakeholders (e.g.,
children’s ombudsman,
CASA, MCI, office of
family advocate)                          23
Social service resources
available in community
(e.g., counseling,
parenting classes,
mentoring)                                52
Special education                         19
Education resources                       22
Trial skills (e.g.,
cross/direct
examinations, opening
statements, closing
arguments)                                74
Michigan child welfare
law                                       73
Child Welfare Appellate
Skills training                           15
None                                      14
Other: During the past
five years, many LGALs
have attended a wide
variety of trainings
relevant to their work.
Trainings have covered a
variety of legal topics
related to children’s law,
child development and
other social science
issues, and other specific
topics related to practice
with children. Given the
variety of responses to
this question, there does
not appear to have been
any pattern to such
trainings or any
systematic approach to
the training of LGALs on
a statewide basis.                          40



Access to Case-
Related
Information
8. Do you typically receive the following
information as an LGAL without
requesting it?
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.                       No
                                            153
Child’s school records                  81%
                                            156
Child’s medical records                 83%
                                            115
Child's DHS case file                   61%

Child’s                                     130
delinquency/probation
records                                 69%
                                        108
Child’s counseling
records                                 58%
Information directly from                81
service providers working
with parents                            43%
                                        167
Adoption file                           92%
                                         99
Adoption report                         54%
                                         89
CASA report                             49%




9. If you need but do not receive information listed in
Question 8, which of the following actions do you take to
ensure receipt of the information? Please indicate the
frequency.

Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.       Regularly           Seldom
                                         87                 4
Phone calls                             47%              2%
                                         46                 27
Letters                                 27%              16%
                                         45                 39
e-Mail                                  25%              22%
                                         72                 29
In person contact                       39%              16%
                                         10                 75
Subpoena                                6%               43%
                                          5                 26
Other                                   5%               25%
10. Do you typically present the following information
about your child-client to the court?

Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.    Sometimes, when relevant            No
                                                       101          4
School status                                         54%         2%
                                                       104          8
Health status/records                                 56%         4%
                                                        98         18
Child's prior CPS/foster
care history                                          53%         10%
                                                       113         10
Delinquency/probation
history                                               62%         5%
                                                        89          7
Counseling history                                    48%         4%
                                                        51         12
Parents’ compliance with
services (based on direct
information from service
providers)                                            28%         6%




11. Please identify any information not
listed in Question 10 that you often
present to the court.

80 Responses: LGALs provide the court with a
tremendous variety of information regarding the children
they represent. Some of the more common areas of
information not specifically listed in the survey include
the child’s specific emotional and physical status,
concerns regarding the actions and/or attitudes of
biological and foster parents, opinions regarding DHS
staff and the efficacy of services being provided, and the
child’s preferences regarding services or placement.
Representation

12. Do you usually have an adequate
opportunity to interview the following
individuals prior to adjudication?

Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.    No
                                           9
Child                                    5%
                                          62
Custodial parent(s)                      33%
                                         106
Noncustodial parent(s)                   59%
                                          33
Foster parent(s)                         18%
                                          20
Foster care/CPS worker                   11%
                                         121
Police                                   66%
                                         117
Teacher/school
personnel                                65%
                                          84
CASA volunteers                          47%
                                         136
Medical personnel                        75%




13. How often have you asked the court to
relieve you of your LGAL responsibilities?
Never-10 times                            189
11-20 times                                1
21-30 times                                0
More than 30 times                         0
Total                                     190




14. Under what circumstances have you
requested to be relieved of your LGAL
responsibilities? Please check all that
apply.
Financial reasons                          9
Time constraints                           9
Caseload                                   2
Travel                                    14
Travel reimbursement                      11
Burn-out                                   2
Judicial scheduling                       12
N/A                                       99

Other: In addition to the
specific factors listed in
the survey, LGALs have
most often asked to be
relieved of their LGAL
responsibility due to
conflicts of interest
because of the former
representation of a
parent, the current
representation of a
sibling, or the inability to
work with a specific child.               42




15. On average, in what percentage of your
child protection cases each year do you
have another LGAL substitute for you at a
hearing?
0%-25%                                  190
26%-50%                                     0
51%-75%                                     0
76%-100%                                    0
Total                                   190




16. Do you seek court approval before the
substitution?
Yes                                     90
No                                      49
Sometimes                               40
Total                                   179




17. How frequently does each circumstance listed below
prevent you from personally attending all hearings?
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.       Regularly           Seldom
                                            5             64
Not notified of a hearing               3%               35%
                                        10                52
Busy in another
courtroom                               5%               28%
                                            9             52
Scheduling conflicts                    5%               28%
                                            2             90
Unexpected personal
conflicts                               1%               48%
18. On average, how many conversations
do you have with the child's foster
parents/caregivers before the day of each
hearing?
No conversations                              8
1-2 conversations                        159
3-4 conversations                         20
More than 4                                   3
Total                                    190




19. On average, how many conversations
do you have with the caseworker about
the case before each hearing?
No conversations                          10
1-2 conversations                        122
3-4 conversations                         40
More than 4                               13
Total                                    185




20. In your normal course of representing
a child-client, do you meet with any of the
following stakeholders?
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.          No
                                          61
Other siblings                          33%
                                          64
Custodial parent(s)                     34%
                                         120
Noncustodial parent(s)                  65%
                                                   155
Police                                            84%
                                                   133
Teacher/school
personnel/coaches                                 74%
                                                    97
CASA volunteer                                    55%
                                                   155
Medical personnel                                 87%
                                                   150
Parent’s therapist                                83%
                                                    85
Child’s therapist                                 46%
                                                    76
Adoption worker                                   42%



21. Please identify any stakeholders you
meet with not listed in Question 20.

50 Responses: Additional stakeholders that LGALs often
meet with include children’s guardians, foster parents,
fictive kin, DHS workers, and attorneys representing
other parties.




22. Do you obtain permission from
parents' counsel before communicating
with the child's parents?
Yes                                                146
No                                                   5
Sometimes                                           33




23. How would you rank the following barriers to meeting
with your child-client prior to each hearing?
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.                Significant            Rarely significant
                                                       36                    39
Distance between you
and your child-client                                19%                   21%
                                                       56                    43
Availability of child-client
or child’s caretaker                                 30%                   23%
                                                       19                    78
Concurrent scheduling of
hearings                                             10%                   41%
                                                       21                    80
Time and location of
scheduled hearings                                   11%                   43%
Reimbursement of                                       26                    40
expenses/payment for
time                                                 14%                   21%
                                                       20                    62
Being provided with
placement information                                11%                   33%



24. Please identify any barriers not listed
in Question 23.

31 Responses: Additional barriers to meeting with child-
clients that attorneys reported were: lack of payment for
a variety of services and expenses; children gone
AWOL, inability to contact a caregiver; a caregiver’s
failure to keep an appointment; and the age of the child
precluding an ability for a meeting.




25. Please provide any additional relevant
information about where, why, or how
often you meet with your child-client.
62 Responses: Primary additional barriers to meeting
with child clients that attorneys reported were: lack of
payment for a variety of services and expenses; children
gone AWOL, inability to contact a caregiver; a
caregiver’s failure to keep an appointment; and the age
of the child precluding an ability for a meeting.
26. On average, what percentage of the
time do judges inquire at court hearings
whether you have visited with the child?
0%-25%                                       32
26%-50%                                      20
51%-75%                                      15
76%-100%                                 121
Total                                    188




27. Please indicate your level of
involvement in the development and
monitoring of the child's case plan, court
orders, and provision of services for the
family. Please check all that apply.
Not involved in the
development and
monitoring of case plan,
court orders, and
provision of services                        26
Attend case
conferences/periodic
assessment meetings                          84
Attend Foster Care
Review Board meetings                        73
Receive and review
reports about child's
progress                                 179
Receive and review
reports about parents'
progress                                 174
Make inquiries about
status of court order
implementation                           127
Speak with child's
caretakers directly                      169
Speak with child's
caseworker directly                      171
Speak with school or
other educational
personnel                                 65
Consult with adoption
worker                                    99
Consult with MCI
Superintendent                            20
Participate in team
decision-making
meetings                                  94




28. Do you receive a copy of the updated
report/service plan from the caseworker at
least five days before each court hearing?
Yes                                       22
No                                        82
Sometimes                                 85
Total                                    189




29. How frequently do you contact the following
individuals and/or take the following actions when
effective services are not being provided in a timely
fashion? Please check all that apply.
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.       Regularly            Seldom
                                          75                6
Contact DHS caseworker                  40%               3%
                                          16               59
Contact DHS supervisor                   9%               32%
                                           4               66
Contact DHS central
office                                   2%               36%
                                          58               34
Contact parents’ attorney               32%               18%
                                         12               75
File a motion with the
court                                    6%             40%
                                         66               14
Inform the court at the
next hearing                            35%              8%
                                          1               29
Notify Office of Family
Advocate                                 1%             16%
                                          1               35
Notify children’s
ombudsman                                1%             19%
                                          6               40
Notify Foster Care
Review Board                             3%             22%




30. When the above situations occur, from whom are you most likely to
learn that there is a problem with services? Please rank in order 1-6, 1
being most likely to tell you about a problem and 6 being least likely.
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.          2                   4                6
                                         30               15                 3
Foster parent                           21%             11%                2%
                                         24               43                12
Child-client                            16%             28%                8%
                                         17               27                18
Biological parent                       11%             18%                12%
                                         40               33                 8
Other attorneys                         25%             20%                5%
                                         38               26                14
Caseworker                              22%             15%                8%
                                         20               14                91
CASA volunteer                          12%              8%                54%
31. How frequently do you pursue issues on behalf of the
child that do not arise directly from the scope of your
court appointment?
Top number is the count
of respondents selecting
the option. Bottom
number is percent of the
total respondents
selecting the option.        Regularly          Seldom
                                            3              28
Immigration matters                      2%              15%
                                          15               56
School disciplinary
matters                                  8%              30%
                                          37               31
Delinquency cases                        20%             17%
                                          28               48
Special education issues                 15%             26%
                                          21               49
Social services/general
benefits                                 11%             26%
                                            5              57
Social Security/disability
claims                                   3%              31%
                                            9              36
Tribal issues                            5%              19%
                                            5              40
Inheritance issues                       3%              22%
                                          15               34
Adult care transition
issues                                   8%              18%




Best
Interests/Wishes
Conflict

32. Is it difficult to balance the “best
interests” and the personal wishes of the
child-client? If so, how difficult?
Very difficult                              5
Difficult                                 19
Somewhat difficult                        95
Seldom difficult                          65
Not difficult                                6
Total                                    190




33. Have you ever had to inform the court
of a conflict between a child's “best
interests” and a child's wishes?
Yes                                      158
No                                        32
Total                                    190




34. If your answer to question 33 was yes,
please check the box that indicates the
percentage of cases in which this has
occurred.
0%-25%                                   143
26%-50%                                   16
51%-75%                                      5
76%-100%                                     0
Total                                    164




35. Has such a conflict ever resulted in the
court appointing a separate attorney to
advocate for the child's wishes?
Yes                                       75
No                                       106
Total                                    181
36. What issues arose that required the
court to appoint a separate attorney to
represent the child's wishes?
Placement                                   54
Education                                   0
Permanency plan                             38
Parenting time                              4
Total                                       96




37. Which of the following barriers have
prevented you from attending Foster Care
Review Board hearings?
Lack of reimbursement                       30
Other court hearings                        38
Time required                               7
Inadequate notice                           37
Not a high individual
priority                                    7
Not a high court priority                   12
Location                                    5
Other: Additional barriers
to the LGALs attendance
of FCRB meetings
include not being
informed of the meeting,
a perception that the
process is not
productive, never having
been invited to a
meeting, and not being
aware of the board’s
existence.                                  45
Total                                     181




38. Which of the following responses are
barriers for you returning questionnaires
to the Foster Care Review Board?
Not a high individual
priority                                       7
Not a high court priority                  18
Time required                              21
Lack of reimbursement                      18
Schedule in court
hearings or other matters                  17

Other: The primary
additional barrier to
returning an FCRB
questionnaire is having
never received one.                        77
Total                                     158




Compensation
Issues


39. As an LGAL, do you receive adequate
compensation?
Yes                                        36
No                                        148
Total                                     184




40. For which of the following activities or
expenses are you reimbursed? Please
check all that apply.
Mileage                                    32
Appearance before the
Foster Care Review
Board                                      47
CPS expungement
hearings                                       3
Representing children in
guardianship/custody/ad
option cases                               90
Attendance at trainings                    10
Attendance at team
decision-making
meetings                              51

Other: Activities for
which LGALs are
reimbursed are most
often limited to court
hearings only, with only a
few respondents
indicating that they are
paid for meeting with
children and are
reimbursed for mileage.
A number of respondents
indicated that they are
paid on a flat per-month
basis.                                49




41. How soon after you submit your LGAL
billing do you receive a check from the
county?
0-5 days                                  7
6-10 days                             13
11-15 days                            42
More than 15 days                    113
Total                                175




42. How would you rank the level of
compliance of LGALs in your county with
the requirements in the Juvenile Code?
Poor                                      2
Fair                                  22
Good                                  47
Very good                             73
Excellent                             43
Total                                187
43. What, if anything, would you change
about the Michigan statute governing
LGAL representation? (MCL 712.17d)

69 Responses: Suggestions for amending the LGAL
statute include establishing specific payment rates for all
services provided and expenses, setting minimum
education/experience requirements, requiring LGALs to
attend mandatory trainings, and requiring meetings with
child-clients only for clients of a minimum age.




44. Is there anything else you would like to
add concerning the representation of
Michigan children by LGAL, or about the
LGAL statute (MCL 712.17d)


54 Responses: Other general suggestions for change
that were not listed above include requiring LGALs to
obtain NAAC Child Welfare Attorney certification,
increasing the court’s focus on DHS compliance, ceasing
Wayne County’s current practice of child representation,
and requiring LGAL’s to also occasionally represent
parents in order to ensure the LGALs appreciation of all
aspects of these cases.
1. Circuit court of practice:
#          Response
         1 3rd Circuit Court
         2 ottawa
         3 5th
         4 Washtenaw
         5 Lapeer 40th Circuit
         6 16th Circuit - Macomb County
         7 Emmet
         8 17th
           Livingston County Family Court-
         9 44th Circuit
        10 22
        11 16th
        12 8th
        13 40th
        14 34th
        15 23rd
        16 12th
        17 42nd
        18 Van Buren
        19 9th
        20 22
        21 16th Circuit court
        22 49th
        23 Oakland
        24 29th
        25 Livingston
        26 Midland
        27 Family Division
        28 16th
        29 30th Circuit Court
30   4th Circuit Court
31   14th
32   5th Circuit Court
33   40th
34   Kent
35   wayne/oakland
36   55th
37   Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee
38   Kent Co 17th Judicial District
39   57th
40   Macomb and Wayne
41   Ingham
42   27th Circuit
43   16th
44   42nd
45   22nd
46   17th
47   34th
48   56th
49   Kent County 17th Circuit
50   38th Circuit
51   Wayne
52   17th
53   Washtenaw (22nd Circuit)
54   3rd Judicial Circuit Court
55   16th
56   Wayne
57   12th
58   20th
59   8th
60   53
61   9th
62   Oakland
63   21st
64   16th
65   Oakland
66   16th
67   38th
68   44th
69   3rd
70   17th Judicial Circuit
71   44th
72   Muskegon County
73   Third
74   wayne
75   23rd Circuit
76   Kalamazoo
77   wayne and oaklan
     Kent County Circuit Court, Grand
78   Rapids, MI
79   16th
80   St. Joseph 45th
81   22nd Circuit Court
82   Oakland
83   51st
84   7th
85   Oakland County
86   Kent Probate
87   6th
88   6th
89   16th Judicial Circuit
90   30th Judicial Circuit
91   Third
92   43rd
 93   17th
 94   17th
 95   38th
 96   Van Buren
 97   6th Probate Circuit
 98   16th circuit
 99   Macomb
100   49th
101   16th
102   Wayne
103   41st Circuit
104   Macomb
105   35th
106   30th
107   13th
108   Sanilac
109   8th Circuit
110   9th
111   Gogebic County
112   Wayne County Family Juvenile Div.
113   8th
114   56th
115   19th
116   17th
117   Kent County
118   4th Circuit
119   37th Circuit
120   39th
121   17th Circuit Court
122   44th
123   Third Circuit/Circuit
124   Third
125   Oakland/Wayne
126   6th
127   43rd Judicial Circuit
128   24th Circuit Court
129   WCJC
130   8 th
131   57th
132   17th Circuit
133   20th
134   17th
135   Oakland and Genesee
136   36th Circuit Court
137   6th
138   wayne county and oakland county
139   6th Circuit
140   18th Circuit Court
141   38th
142   14
143   8th (Ionia/Montcalm)
144   38th
145   19th
146   16th
147   17th
148   8th
149   9th
150   Second Circuit
151   3rd
152   6TH Circuit
153   Kent, Ionia, Ottawa
154   6th
155   Wayne and Oakland
156   macomb
157   54th
158   22nd Judicial Circuit
159   Clinton
160   48th
161   56TH
162   Oakland, Wayne and Macomb
163   Third
164   40th
165   Muskegon
166   4th Circuit Court
167   Family Court
168   53rd Circuit Court
      22nd Judicial Circuit - Family
169   Division
170   44th
171   16th
172   Oakland
173   Sixth Circuit
174   17th
175   44th
176   49th
177   8th
178   22 nd
179   29th
180   17TH
181   29 th, 30 th
182   16th
183   42nd
184   34 and 46
185   18th judicial circuit
2. County of practice:
#         Response
      162 Allegan                      1
      108 Antrim                       1
       75 Arenac                       1
       57 Baraga Houghton Keweenaw     1
        3 Barry County                 2
       32 Barry County
      142 Bay                          2
      187 Bay
      152 Berrien                      1
      120 Calhoun                      1
       92 Cass                         2
      128 Cass
       24 Clinton                      5
      103 Clinton
      169 Clinton
      183 Clinton, Ingham              1
      186 Crawford and Roscommon       1
      104 Dickinson County             1
       48 Eaton                        3
      115 Eaton                        3
      163 EATON
        7 Emmet                        3
       39 Emmet
      132 Emmet
          Genesee, home visits cover
       84 entire MI & IL               3
       36 Gladwin                      1
      112 Gogebic                      1
      181 Gratiot                      1
       16 Houghton, Baraga             1
 29   Ingham                   6
 41   Ingham
107   Ingham
 90   Ingham County            1
161   Ingham, Eaton, Clinton
 12   Ionia                    6
114   Ionia
131   Ionia
145   Ionia
179   Ionia
 59   Ionia and Montcalm
 15   iosco, and arenac        1
 63   isabella                 1
 30   Jackson                  3
119   Jackson
168   Jackson
 19   Kalamazoo                5
 61   Kalamazoo
 76   Kalamazoo
111   Kalamazoo
151   Kalamazoo
  8   Kent
 34   Kent
 38   Kent
 46   Kent
 52   Kent
 70   kent
 86   Kent
 93   kent
 94   Kent
117   kent
133   Kent
135   Kent
136   Kent
149   kent
176   Kent
182   KENT
 49   Kent County
 78   Kent County
118   Kent County
122   Kent County           20
155   Kent, Ionia, Ottawa    1
  5   Lapeer                 4
 13   Lapeer
 33   Lapeer
166   Lapeer
121   Lenawee                1
 25   Livingston             7
 68   Livingston
 71   Livingston
123   Livingston
172   Livingston
177   Livingston
  9   Livingston County
      Luce                   1
 97   Mackinac & Luce        1
  6   Macomb
 11   Macomb
 21   Macomb
 28   MACOMB
 43   Macomb
 55   Macomb
 64   Macomb
 66   macomb
 79   Macomb
 89   Macomb
 98   Macomb
 99   Macomb
101   Macomb
105   Macomb
148   Macomb
158   macomb
173   Macomb
184   macomb                20
 40   Macomb and Wayne       1
116   Manistee               2
147   Manistee
 83   Mason                  1
 22   Mecosta                1
178   Mecosta and Osceola    2
100   Mecosta/Osceola
 17   Midland
 26   Midland
 44   Midland
185   Midland                4
 50   Monroe
 67   Monroe
 95   Monroe
106   Monroe
143   Monroe
146   Monroe                 6
110   Montcalm
150   Montcalm               3
 31   Muskegon
 72   Muskegon
144   Muskegon
167   Muskegon               4
 23   Oakland
 62   Oakland
 65   Oakland
 82   Oakland
 87   oakland
 88   Oakland
126   Oakland
127   Oakland
139   OAKLAND
141   Oakland
154   Oakland
164   Oakland
174   Oakland
175   Oakland               20
137   Oakland and Genesee    1
140   oakland and wayne      1
 85   Oakland
156   Oakland
 42   Oceana                 1
 14   Ogemaw                 2
 47   Ogemaw
      Osceola                2
  2   ottawa
 58   Ottawa
134   Ottawa                 3
 60   Presque Isle
170   Presque Isle           2
129   Sanilac                1
 80   St. Joseph             1
109   Tuscola                2
159   Tuscola
 18   Van Buren                    3
 96   VAN buren
138   Van Buren County
  4   Washtenaw
 10   Washtenaw
 20   Washtenaw
 27   Washtenaw
 45   Washtenaw
 53   Washtenaw
160   Washtenaw
171   Washtenaw
180   Washtenaw
 81   Washtenaw county            10
 35   wayne and oakland
  1   Wayne
 51   Wayne
 54   Wayne
 56   Wayne
 69   Wayne
 73   Wayne
 74   wayne
102   Wayne
113   Wayne
125   Wayne
130   WAYNE
153   Wayne
165   Wayne                       19
 77   wayne and oakland
157   Wayne and Oakland
 91   Wayne County
 37   Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee    1
124   Wayne/ Macomb
7. Have you had training in any of the following areas in the past five years? Please
check all that apply.
#          Response
        1 MSU College of Law Child Advocacy Program
        2 LMSW w/19 years of clinical practice
        3 Lapeer Probate court offers a course in L-GAL
        4 Registered Nursing CEU classes re: children
        5 I also do tribal cases and have training
        6 Mediation in CPP cases
        7 self read on a number of issues
        8 Expert testimony, ICWA
        9 informal meeting/training w/ court personnel
       10 appellate practice, psychological assessments
       11 icle
       12 Yearly training from Washtenaw Bar Assn.
       13 Wayne County Juvenile Court Annual Training
       14 Former APA with lots of traning more than 5 yr ag
       15 Reprsenting Parents in A & N Cases
       16 Family Drug Treatment Court training
       17 over 20 years of general family law practice
       18 general research, benchbook, workshops
       19 Vanderforte's and Sankeran 's training UM.
       20 I have a Elementary & Early Childhood Degree
       21 ICLE Wayne County Juvenile Court Seminar
       22 Indian Child Welfare Act
       23 I attend MCSSA Meetings as a County Board member
       24 Guardianship procedures
       25 Handling the Chile Welfare Case training
       26 representation of parents in juvenile court
       27 Seminars put on by local bar
       28 Governor's Task Force on Children's Justice
       29 Oakland County Brown bag Lunches
       30 basic child phamacology
       31 Substantial independent reading
       32 can't remember
       33 ICLE juvenile training
       34 Lapeer Co. L/GAL training
       35 i wish there were more classes available for all
       36 Institute of Continuing Education
       37 Macomb County Bar Association CLE Seminars...etc..
       38 Delinquent girls and female bullies
       39 general training on neglect/abuse cases
       40 Personal research and review of studies, reports,
11. Please identify any information not listed in Question 10 that you often present to the court.
#          Response
           Date(s) and location(s) of visit(s) with child(ren) for LGAL cases in
         1 compliance with court rule.
         2 Observations during home visit
           Status/quality/issues involving current placement. Issues regarding the
         3 child's adjustment issues being removed from home/school/friends/ect.
         4 Placement status and visitation and reunification efforts
         5 How visits with parents are going.
         6 Child's preferences if child is age appropriate and with child's consent
           observations from visits with the child; recommendations for the next
         7 review period
           The length of time that the child has been in care and the requirements that
         8 the parents need to fulfill on the Service Plan.
           Child preference when permitted. Personal observations about child
         9 emotional or behavioral issues causd by the court process
        10 Current behaviors in the foster home; behaviors during visitation
        11 Best Interest of child - placement
           adjustment to foster care, discipline/ behavior problems, requests from the
        12 children
           Child's communicated interest in seeing their parents and/or frequency
           thereof, if the request is for more time; Concerns of third parties who are
           not service providers if relevant, reliable and appropriate to communicate in
        13 open court.
        14 Children's perspective if they are old enough to offer one.
        15 Foster parent observations, teacher observations
           Every case is different, so what I "often" provide would vary. Much
           information is provided orally. Examples would be: Cleanliness of the home,
           other residents in the home, routine child activities, child's degree of
           happiness, immigration issues, need for glasses, attitude of foster parents,
           lack of furniture such as dinette set, lack of a bed, lack of window
           treatments, drugs and crime in the neighborhood, lack of transportation,
           horrific animal odor in the home, reports of meetings with
           principal/counselor/teachers, lease status of parent, temporary nature of
        16 foster home and reasons why placement is in danger, lack of a key to the
           Child's wishes. Report from foster parent. My observations of the child and
        17 assessment of the case.
        18 Bond with parent, status at relative/foster placement
           Depending on the age of the child and their ability to communicate, I always
        19 present the desires and position of the child
     behavior at home, before/after parenting time, any unusual/relevant
     observations made during GAL visits, any relevant statements provided by
20   child directly or by foster parents/teachers/service providers
21   placement adaptation, potential family placement options
22   How well child is doing at home or in foster care and at school.
23   Report on interview with child-client
     I typically represent parents. I avg 1-2 cases per yr where I represent a child.
24   These numbers may not be statistically relevant
     any problems or concerns children are having with foster family, school,
25   visitation, counseling, etc.
26   The children's inquiries and desires as expressed to me.
27   Whether separated siblings are visiting
     Adjustment of the child in relative placement or foster home; child's wishes
     regarding placement if child waives privilege; anything child wishes to have
28   me tell the judge
     children's wishes, anything that is relevant that has come to my attention
     during my visits/investigation that has not been mentioned by the
     prosecutor. Our prosecutor typically presents all of the info. in Q 10 before
29   I address the court.
30   client's wishes. suggested resolution.
     Information regarding possible relative placements and my own
31   recommendation regarding this.
     Reports of the foster families/relatives concerning the children and the
32   status of the parents-visitation,etc.
     How visitation is occurring; socialization at the foster home or relative
33   placement; child's thoughts about the process and how it is affecting them.
     I try to give the court the child's position on the issues, and then I present
     my position on the issues. I really try to find out what the kids's position is,
34   especially when the child is above 8 years old.
     I always present the wishes of placement of my clients to the court. What
     they have requested for parenting time as well. I also include any and all
     concerns that I have with placement issues, appropriateness, etc. I demand
     sibling visits monthly and ensure that they are scheduled accordingly. I
     address concerns foster care parents have with the court as well, if
     necessary. I always advise the court as to the date of my last contact with the
     client. I advise as to parent's involvement, or lack thereof, during parenting
35   time, when observed.
     How the child is adjusting, getting along with family/foster family/peers,
     activities in which they are involved, their concerns about the case, their
36   appearance (if they look well).
37   childs curent placement;childs demeanor and attitude.
     Child's emotional status, bonds/ attachments or lack thereof, parenting time
     interactions/reactions and disclosures made by the children;child's
     emotional adjustment to the situation; relevant information obtained from
     conversations with the children's therapist, foster parent's and any other
38   service providers; any information that the children have asked me to share
     How the child is doing in the current placement; special needs the child may
39   have; need for sibling or other relative visits
     Some unique or positive information about child to personalize client for
40   court, parent's attorneys, etc.
     Child's reaction to foster parents or foster care; child's reaction to visits with
41   parents
     Status of the child while in care. For example how they are adjusting to the
     placement. Information about the visits between child and parents.
     Conditions of the house in which a child is placed and conditions of the
42   home if the child is returned home.
     Most of the information in Question 10 is presented through the CPS
     Report, not me. I am more likely to tell the Court what I observe about the
     child ( emotions, developemental issues, personality) and what they tell me
     about life in their placement or prior to removal. I certainly will fill in any
43   gaps in the DHS report that are told to me by the children.
44   Any specific needs of the child/client, i.e. tutoring, travel, clothing.
     Information about parents' history or activities, DHS failures to provide
     services or follow court orders, concerns about DHS failures to provide
     requested information, suggestions for relative or fictive kin placement,
45   requests for (or redirect of) child support,
     What the child would like the Court to know; how visits are between the
     parents and the child(ren); children's behavior before and after visits and
46   generally.
47   recommendation and legal argument
     Child's needs and desires if appropriate. The observations I have made of
48   the childrens needs.
49   Child's wishes with regard to parenting time
50   Delays in implementation of services ordered by the Court.
51   Client's wishes and bond with parent and/or caregiver
52   child's current concerns and preferences
53   child's current adjustment to placement
54   Concerns and questions raised by the child(ren) as to the matter.
55   Substance Abuse, Income, Employment, Housing, Mental Health
     Private investigation into parental conduct not adequately covered in DHS
56   reports.
57   TOO MUCH TO REPORT IN A SURVEY
58   Current living situation and conditions.
59   If child is placed outside the home, how the child is doing in the placement.
60   Childrens concerns, questions, wishes.
61 Reports of in person contact - phone call and/or visit
62 DHS does not provide reports on a timely basis.
   Rarely do I present evidence but use argument. I do present some
   information about the state funding when they decide to stop counseling for
   children because they don't have money but still allow the robed ones and
   politicians to portray themselves as the best friend of children. Sometimes I
   try to put a child's emotional state before the court, so that those wonderful
   robed ones will try to feel the pain that has been inflicted on them, rather
   than allowing the robed ones to ease their own conscience about what they
   may have done to their own children. I also present a child's point of view
   about the system and their ambivilance to Nora Corregan and other
   wonderful hero's for children. Many times, all they want is for someone to
   value them not as part of the narcissistic matrix curtesy of SCAO and
63 Corregan but as a wounded human being in need of affection and guidance.
   The child's overall adjustment to placement (out of home or return to
   home). The client's requests and progress. Any difficulties between client
64 and worker in obtaining services.
65 issues with the foster care/adoption worker
66 Child's concerns, wishes, and/or special needs
   The information listed above is typically found in the USP or court report.
   Other info submitted by me involve the minor's opinions & concerns, the
   foster parent concerns, my concerns about the lack of services or inadequate
   services, sibling visit issues, therapy or inadequate specialty of therapy,
   appropriate behavior during visits, I question reasonable efforts by agencies,
67 etc.
68 Child's comments
69 Wishes of the child in conjunction with the best interests of the child.
70 any other special needs of the child/ren.
71 Most of information is provided by the caseworker.
   Information about any foster care person or individual who is caring for the
72 child during neglect proceedings
   In Circuit Court domestic cases I prepare detailed reports prior to each
73 hearing.
   Licensing record of DHS or private agency and the individual foster
   home, especially when the home is marginal or abusive; amount of sibling
74 visits; the child's wishes as to placement, etc.
     The child's adjustment to the fosterhome if out of home placement, the
     child's reaction to visits, the parent's compliance with visits, the parent's
     behavior during visits and child's reaction to it, the child's behavior
     following visits, any special needs ot the child/behavioral issues, desires of
     the child if the child is old enough to express them (ie teenage victim of
     sexual abuse who does not want to see perpetrator father), etc. What I
     address depends so much on the issue of every case. I go over what
     incidents may have occurred over the past 3 months that I feel the Court
75   needs to know details about and not just read in a report.
     Financial issues, overall adjustment of minor, visitation issues and / or
76   concerns
     How the child is doing in placement. Appropriateness of placement. Any
77   unidentified needs for the child. Opinion on parenting time.
     DHS presents all this information as it is not given to the LGAL and we are
78   only paid $75.00 for each court hearing.
79   Comments the child desires me to pass onto the Judge.
     problems between parent and child, ability of parent to provide care &
80   guidence, mental and substance problems
nt to the court.
14. Under what circumstances have you requested to be relieved of your LGAL
responsibilities? Please check all that apply.
#         Response
        1 conflict of interest
        2 I never have asked to be relieved
        3 conflict with parents
        4 Took a 6 mo. break to handle my firm case load.
        5 I have not requested
        6 To date I have never asked to be relieved.
        7 Conflict
        8 Confilict of interest or request by child
        9 conflict with other clients
       10 Potential Conflicts of Interest
       11 child awol
       12 conflict
       13 Attorney conflict
       14 conflict of interest between siblings developed
       15 when a conflict arises with a parent father appear
       16 Conflict of interest
       17 Hhave not asked to be removed.
       18 One case which involved a conflict of interest
       19 parent did not like my recommendation
       20 conflict-represented a parent previously
       21 ct rules are not practical; made by non-practioner
       22 other counsel more appropriate
       23 Where a conflict of interest occurs
       24 conflict-knowing one of the parties
       25 Lack of rapport with a teenage child (once)
       26 hEALTH
       27 There is no compensation for visiting with the chi
       28 when there is a conflict between siblings
       29 When there is a conflict with a representation
       30 never have made that request
       31 conflict
       32 Conflict of interest
       33 conflict of interest
       34 Parent failure to respond/appear
       35 conflict of interest when representing siblings
       36 Conflict with a teenaged client, court added attor
       37 Never
       38 Conflict of interest
       39 Conflict of interest
       40 Ethical conflicts, such as sibling abuse
41 conflicts
42 prior representation of one parent
21. Please identify any stakeholders you meet with not listed in Question 20.
#          Response
         1 guardians for children
         2 Foster parent or placement adult (extended family)
         3 Those with whom the child has been placed
         4 None
         5 Foster parents
           Most "meetings" are via the telephone, if appropriate,
         6 or upon receipt of documents to clarify the content.
           I just wanted to note that while I do not physcially
           meet with some of the occupations listed, if they have
           prepared a written report, I read it and follow up if I
         7 think it necessary.
         8 Foster parent
         9 Parent's attorney
        10 family, family friend/fictive kin
        11 foster parents
        12 DHS and purchase of service workers
           I only work as GAL when there is a conflict...I typically
           am appointed to represent the child's desires.
        13 Therefore, I am never present before the 1st hearing.
           stepparents, stepchildren occasionally, attorneys for
        14 other parties
           it should be noted that the above are on a case by case
        15 basis.
        16 workers and attorneys; foster parents
           relatives seeking placement as an alternative to foster
        17 care
           Relatives/fictive kin/ preadoptive placements are met
        18 with when necessary/relevant to case/child issues.
           I meet with the persons listed in #21 on a case-by-case
        19 basis, depending on the nature of each case.
           Other service providers of the parent (ie.wraparound
           services, CMH, Families First etc.) other service
           providers for the children (ie.CMH, Early-on, Head
           Start etc.)Relatives that are involved with the child.
        20 Foster parents.
        21 guardian; other relatives
        22 The foster parent
           protective services worker, foster care worker,
        23 prosecuting attorney, parent's attorney
     DHS Worker, Worker's supervisor, Juvenile Officer,
     Domestic Violence worker, teacher, principal, school
     therapist, special education teacher, special education
24   director, Early On worker
25   parent's attorneys, grandparents, relative placements
     Other relatives who have knowledge of the parents'
26   issues,
27   foster care caseworkers
28   workers regularly
29   parents attorneys
30   caseworker
     Caseworker(s), grandparents, others who may be
     involved or otherwise interested in the matter on a case
31   by case basis.
32   N/A
33   DHS worker
34   social worker/case worker
35   Relative Placement
36   Foster parent(s)
     Foster parents and caseworker; involved in
     wraparound services if occuring, which may include
37   mental health providers and others
     If a child-client is seeking a particular out of home
38   placement, I will speak with the person (ie fictive kin)
39   the child
     People will change on a case by case basis; other
40   relatives interested in planning
41   Attorneys for the parents.
42   foster parents
     Juvenile Probation Workers, any wrap-around service
43   workers.
     it depends on the specific problems that my client may
44   have -- whoever is relevant
45   Placement/caregiver
46   Care House personnel; TDM facilitators
     I usually don't meet with many people other than the
     child and parent(s) if the child is an in-home ward, but
     I call many people. I might call relatives if they have
     information that may be helpful. I might call service
     providers like Early Impact if I do not feel that I am
     getting enough information from the reports or the
     caseworker. If Family Reunification Team is in place, I
47   keep in regular contact with them.
48   foster care parent or relative placement person(s)
49 The Child.
   DHS worker, foster parents, prosecutor and parent's
50 attorneys, relatives
24. Please identify any barriers not listed in Question 23.
#         Response
          Some uncooperative parents force the meeting to take place at the child's school
        1 or the parent's attorney's office, instead of the child's home as it should be.
          To expand on a barrier, when travel to a visit takes 8 hours, for example, 75
        2 dollars and mileage, total, works out to about minimum wage for payment.
        3 Cooperation by placement.
        4 Refusal of caregivers to allow access during regular business hours.
          It is financially impossible to continue representation of children as there is below
          poverty level compensation, no travel reimbursement, wages are the same since
          the 1970's, cost of living is 4X's since then and it actually costs an attorney money
        5 to represent children.
        6 none
        7 *I do not talk with parents because I do not believe it is ethical for me to do so.
        8 biggest obstacle is placement of child and child's inability to appear at will
        9 i have a pension. i can kill a day making a home visit. other attorneys cant.
          Where children are placed with parents who forget out appt., or neglect to answer
       10 the door.
          Current payment by county does not include consideration that gas is now
          $4.00/gallon. When CAT began w/it's contract w/the County, gas was $1.56
       11 gallon.
       12 Older Children that go AWOL or avoid contact.
       13 Ability to contact child's caretaker
          Many times children are in excess of 1 hour away. Further placement changes
       14 without consultation and location
       15 Short notice of hearings
       16 Placement is often out-county. We are not compensated for gas or time for visits.
          Attempting to meet with every child before every hearing and foster parents not
          able to accommodate schedule and children in independent living usually do not
       17 show to a meeting.
       18 Foster parents have forgotten or sent the child(ren)elsewhere.
       19 multiple children in multiple locations.
          We and Special Needs of Children
       20 Ageare paid NOTHING for visiting the children. I was once asked to go to
          Traverse City to visit a child and no expense reimbursement was offered. I asked
          to be let off the case. I will not be continuing with GAL work because of the huge
          expense I incur representing children with no reimbursement of any expense and
       21 no pay whatsoever.
     Sometimes relative caregivers are hesitant to allow full access to child. Sometimes
     they are aligned with the parents. On occasion they simply don't respond and I
     need to keep calling or writing. The Foster Care workers often do not give me
     placement information timely and inform me when a change occurs. I do not
     blame them however. The State always has enough money for CPS workers so
     that politicians and robed bureaucrats can stand up in the State House and say
     they are heroes for children but they freeze the number of FC workers and cut
     their support (ie case aids. This means they are few and spend their time arranging
22   visits and seeing kids not enough time with routine paperwork.
     Children are moved from placement and I am usually not notified of the TDM or
     the removal until I try to schedule a meeting with him/her. Phone numbers at the
23   foster home are changed and I am not notified.
24   none
25   ageLGALs in Washtenaw County we are not compensated for home visits, which
     As of child
     is not a barrier as visits are a requirement, but adequate time w/the the child is
26   reduced.
27   Time frame in which to investigate.
28   contact info when it changes is rarely given to us GAL
     Foster parents failing to cooperate with scheduled appointments; child's school
29   schedule; placement of the child in high crime neighborhoods
     It is a big problem in Kent county when a child is first removed because CPS does
     not tell the child's attorney where the child is placed. Then we do not even know
     what agency to call to find the child. I have had to call every agency to find my
     client before. It is ridiculous. The fostercare agency should call the LGAL
     immediately upon receiving the case. I like to see my client's right away to make
30   sure that the foster home is suitable.
     foster care/parents work schedule and/or availability, call backs by foster parents
31   sometimes involve "telephone tag"
25. Please provide any additional relevant information about where, why, or how often you meet
with your child-client.
#         Response
          I always meet with my child-client in compliance with the court and the
        1 court rule unless there are extraordinary circumstances.
          Clients are seen and met with before each hearing. Care is taken to meet
          with a child in an environment and setting that provides the most privacy
        2 for discussion without increasing the stress of the child.
          I meet with my child in the home setting when possible or at DHS or my
          office if not possible. I always have snacks and treats for the children and
        3 have a large comfortable conference room for them.
        4 Distance is obviously a factor, especially with the current price of fuel.
          I meet with the child at least once before each hearing. If there is a lond
          time between hearings, I meet with the child more than once. Usually meet
          the child at his/her placement or home, if not removed. I will also meet
          with the child more often if some major change in thier life has occurred (ie
        5 parent goes to jail).
          Typically we meet at my office unless the circumstances of the actual home
          are important and the child is placed back home. I always meet with
        6 children prior to every court hearing. I have met with some clients at
          Always at the court before every hearing if unable to see child at thier
          home. Not enough foster homes in this area. Always assume it is best to
        7 keep them in school i we can
          There are some cases that require you to conduct a home visit several times
          based on the case. Other cases do not require many visits as the placements
          are with a parent and/or are such good homes that a home visit is not
          needed. The low pay and the required visit before each hearing makes it
          difficult as you can never balance out the cases. If allowed, I would visit
          some homes more frequently and others less frequently, but the
          statute/courts do not allow us to use discretion. I understand that some
          GALs may not visit at all if not required to do so before every hearing, but
          they should not be approved to serve as a GAL if they cannot properly
        8 handle their case.
          I like to meet with the children a two weeks before the hearing date at their
          current placement. I tend to get a better understanding of how the child is
          fitting in with the family and a more normalized view of the child's
          behavior. This also gives me time to see the parent/foster parent's
        9 interactions with the children.
          I like to meet the child in different settings, such as home, school, the
       10 agency, to get a more holistic approach to the child's life.
     I ONLY REPRESENT CHILDREN IN DELINQUENCY CASES. I I
     HAVE ONLY ONE OPEN NEGLECT CASE WHERE I REPRESENT
     THE CHILD. I QUIT TAKING THOSE CASES SEVERAL YEARS
     AGO DUE TO THE FACT THAT THERE WAS NO ADDITIONAL
     COMPENSATION FOR MY ADDITIONAL TIME. I COULD NOT
     DO AN ADEQUATE JOB FOR MY CLIENT AND CONTINUE TO
     PAY THE PORTION OF MY OFFICE OVERHEAD
     ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE TIME SPENT REPRESENTING THAT
     CLIENT. I REFUSE TO A LOUSY JOB FOR MY CLIENTS SO
11   INSTEAD I QUIT REPRESENTING THE CHILD IN
     I meet with all of my children prior to the hearing with the exception if the
12   child is placed out of state.
     Generally they come to my office unless I have concerns about the home
     environment I want to investigate. Those placed out of county are normally
13   handled by phone.
     I meet with the child-client prior to each hearing. As a matter of practice I
14   try to contact the child-client monthly
15   once prior to each hearing, usually at the foster parent's home
     If the child is an infant or unable to voice any information, meeting with
16   them seems unproductive.
     Generally in my office. There may be reasons to meet in the home,
17   occasionally.
     In reality, representation for clients per the 16th circuit court pay scale is at
     or below poverty pay when you consider inflation and overhead. Looking
     to eventually discontinue representation for cac pay. No compensation for
     any other service but attendance at court hearing. Remaining work
     including discovery, phone call, attend meeting or to actually get involoved
18   with the case plan is financially impossible.
     I am appointed only when there is a conflict between the child and the
     original GAL....this typically occurrs when the child is a little older and
     demands to be placed somewhere other than their current placement. I
19   represent the child's personal interests.
     I meet with the child or children before each hearing. I have visited some
     children 16 times. I also talk with various entities by phone often. I attend
     meetings when the child is to be a witness, as I will this week. I also attend
     (by phone) DHS staffing meetings. I am not reimbursed for any time other
     than the time in court, nor for mileage or other office costs. It is truly a
20   public service.
     I try to meet with my kids, or at least talk with them on the phone, before
21   each hearing.
     ct rules should recognize that it may be impossible to meet with child each
     and every time prior to hearing given practical concerns such as distance
22   and child's school/activity schedule
23   some are too far--accross the state.
     I meet with children at least once before every hearing; and additionally
24   after a change of placement or if the child is injured.
     Some impossibility. Several children in the same can be in several locations-
25   from Flint to Ecorse.
     It is important to meet with the children in their home, unlike normal
     parents. So therefore, a LGAL has to travel to visit their client. Just more
26   time, and more money.
     I usually meet with my clients at their foster home if located in the county.
     If they are not located in the county, then I meet with them when they are
27   in the county for their visit with their parents.
     I make an effort to meet with each child prior to every hearing. The only
     times I do not personally see a child is when they have been moved to a
     new placement without notice or if the foster parent or caregiver cannot be
28   reached or misses the appointment.
     I usually meet my clients either at the placement, my office, daycare, school
     or at parent visits. I like to visit the children in different environments so
     that I can see their level of comfort/adjustment in the differnet
     environments, also to have my face become familiar to them in different
     environments.(especially little ones)I meet with my clients on average one
     time before each hearing, some more often depending upon the situation. I
     tend to have a lot of phone contact with my older clients during the report
     periods. I also have regular contact with the placements, some more than
29   others.
     I like to observe visits with parents to observe bonds and parent's skills
30   personally in addition to visiting child at foster care home
     It was suggested at a seminar I attended that the caretaker of the child be
     asked to bring the child to at least every other hearing so that the LGAL
     could meet with the child immediately before and after the hearing thereby
     really only seeing the child at every other hearing but still meeting the
31   requirement of technically seeing the child prior to each hearing.
     In most cases the children are required to attend court hearings and I meet
     with them there. If it is a concern about them coming to the courthouse, I
32   meet them somewhere nuetral or go to the home of their placement.
     I generally meet with child-client at caregiver's home, at least a couple of
     days before every hearing. I also meet anytime a new issue comes up or
33   client requests that I help, investigatge or pursue a new course of action.
     On occasion, the custodial placement has failed to be present at the home
     for a pre-arranged visit. very frustating, especially when it takes 45 minutes
34   travel time.
35   I meet with my child-client before every hearing.
     I meet many times with the children at a park or restaurant to allow them
     to feel maor relaxed. I also have met with the children at my office when
36   no other option is feasible for them to feel comfortable.
     Not every child client has the same needs. I try to meet with clients that
     require it and because of the financial burdens I sometimes do not meet
37   with those that I feel are less in need.
     Location depends on circumstances. I always visit the foster care home at
38   least once, then I might visit at school or at a parenting time.
     My understanding is we are limited to one face to face contact with a child-
     client for each hearing. I do on occasion speak with a child client on the
     telephone, however not normally unless there is a specific reason. The
     court does not accept charges for more than one visit per review period.
     There is never enough time to meet with client (child or parent) before a
     preliminary hearing as they are scheduled on such short notice and the
39   appointment is normally the same day as the hearing.
     Usually meet the child or children at the foster/relative home or at school
40   at least one time per quarter or before a hearing
41   School, the agency
     varies from case to case. Older children can be called, some have driven to
     my office... When I have multiple children in various locations it can be
42   difficult to physically see them all.
43   TOO MANY BARRIEERS TOO LIST
44   Prior to every Review Hearing or Motion
     I always see the child before the hearing, usually after I get the report or an
     update from the worker. I usually go to the child's home or the agency so i
     can observe the parenting time and the bond that exists between the child
45   and parent.
     Visiting babies and toddlers is pointless. I do not subscibe to the matrix
     notion that a GAL is an independent investigator. I do not inspect foster
     homes for wiring, plumbing and the like. These homes are licenced through
     the state and workers inspect the homes each month as needbe. I often get
     more out of watching supervised visits at DHS to see bonding to parents
     etc... I also do not and will not forensically interview a child. I could do
     serious damage because I am not suited for such nor do I intend to train to
     do such. I rely of professional opinion. I am after all a lawyer not a social
     worker. For distance placements, I speak with the client + therapist or
     group leader. Usually these are older children with Whom I can have a
     dialog. The phone is usually sufficient because I've met them prior to
     placement. In some cases meeting in court is good because some children
46   have delinquency overlap and allowing them to see the process helps them.
     I try to meet with my clients in their placement. It provides me with the
     opportunity to observe the conditions and meet with others involved in the
47   child's day to day living.
     I meet with my client each quarter or if the client is several miles/hours
48   away and is older, then I talk on the phone with the client.
     When siblings are placed in different homes/locations, i.e., Lansing and
     Detroit, it is financially a sum negative to visiting everyone and then
     attending court proceedings, all for $60 - when the parental rights have
     been terminated. It has caused many good GAL's to stop representing
49   children as GAL's because it is not financially feasible.
     Teenagers, once I see the home, I may call rather than visit. This seems to
50   suit some of them.
     I meet with the minor as required by law. Not sure its so necessary to visit
     minor after preliminary hearing, pretrial etc. One visit in the early stages is
51   sufficient. Then every 90 day period.
     I try to meet on weekends, only one foster parent refuses to meet on
52   weekends, which is a huge problem.
     I try to meet the child at least once in a familiar setting, like home or
     school. Then we can meet at my office, which is comfortable for me and
     the child, and no one else is around. I worry about parents eavesdropping
     when meeting in the home, but want the child to get to know me before
     coming to a strange office. Once we know each other, then they "visit" me
53   at my office, and it's more comfortable.
54   i try to visit or speak to them at their placement just prior to any hearings
55   I always meet with my child-client(s) at least once prior to each hearing.
     I try to see each child in his foster home at least once because of the high
     number of horrific home. I like to observe visits with children and parents
56   at the agency and to attend sibling visits.
     I usually see my client in the foster home or their home if they are in-home
     wards because I also want to assess their environment. I have had to insist
     that children be removed from homes before because of suspected abuse in
     fosterhomes that were later substantiated so I am very cautious now. I tour
     the home, look for smoke alarms, ask about car seats, etc. I want to see
     how the parents interact with my client. I once witnessed another LGAL's
     client's being neglected in a home and had to contact them, which lead to a
     better situation for that child. You miss so much if you do not go to the
     home. I also observe visits at the agency. I spend extra time with certain
     children, who I feel are not in good homes or are placed separate from
     their siblings. I have taken kids to lunch and dinner. I took one teenage girl
     to a fancy restaurant because she had never had that experience before. I
     took another child to Chuck E Cheese with my family. I take kids to get ice
     cream. I try to spend enough time with them to really get to know them. It
57   is hard with a full practice and 4 kids of my own, but it is important. I do
     Depending on the needs of the case and the child-client, meetings are held
     less or more frequently. I try to work around the placement and their
     schedule as much as possible. I try to perform mostly home visits, but
     sometimes need placements to bring the child-client to the office. I,
58   sometimes, go to the schools or daycares for visits.
     The family court judge for Mecosta and Osceola Counties generally
     requires children to be present at the courthouse on the day of hearings,
     although they are not in the courtroom. I invariably meet with them at that
     time. I also regularly meet with children in relative placements or foster
59   care at those placements.
     I usually meet with the child at their home/placement. Occasionally I will
60   meet with a child in my office.
     I meet my child client at the office at least one time prior to each post-
61   adjudication hearing.
     Most often at the custodial home. In addition, if older, at court. I meet the
     once before each hearing provision. More often in unusual cases with
62   unusual questions.
w often you meet
37. Which of the following barriers have prevented you from attending Foster Care
Review Board hearings?
#         Response
        1 FCRB has no authority to act, no reimbursement
        2 most are placed with family no fosters
        3 Never an issue in my cases.
        4 I have attended all of them
        5 I don't believe I've been invited to one
        6 scheduling conflict
        7 I have not missed a Foster Care Review Board heari
        8 They aren't held in our county/low court priority
        9 FCRB is routinely ignored by all participants.
      10 all of the above
      11 All of the above
      12 I submitted my reponses by mail.
      13 None of my cases have gone to the board
      14 Never had one occurr
      15 not practical
      16 court doesn't care or pay, and location is bad
      17 Reimbursement and time
      18 Don't know anything about these!!
      19 Both other court hearings and inadequate notice
      20 Did not know I am entitled, resistance from DHS
      21 inadequate compensation
      22 ac ombination of the above issues has occurred
      23 I have never missed one
      24 was not aware of such a board
      25 Never been required to go
      26 usually do attend
      27 all of them
      28 Never invited to a Foster Care Review Board Hearin
      29 not informed of meeting (frequent problem)
      30 Allmof the above and more toomany to detail
      31 NEVER ASKED TO ATTEND
      32 other court hearings and inadequate notice
      33 Lack of reimbursemnet and time
      34 Serves only one useful function
      35 No notification--notice may go to the wrong lawyer
      36 inadequate notice and other court hearings
      37 inadequate notice, other court hearings, & lack of
      38 The Board's mission is lofty, but has no teeth.
      39 N/A, have attended all
      40 lack of notice, other court hearings, location.
41   Combination of 2, 3, and 4 above
42   Never informed I was supposed to
43   None, I have attended.
44   and lack of reimbursement
45   This will not allow more than one answer. Other c
38. Which of the following responses are barriers for you returning
questionnaires to the Foster Care Review Board?
#         Response
        1 Not enough space to reply to questions
        2 I always return them and have called if not attend
        3 most are placed with family not fosters
        4 I always return the questionnaire
        5 Does not appear to do much either way
        6 Never an issue in my cases.
        7 I think I have returned the ones I've received.
        8 I have personally attended all reviews
        9 Not applicable
       10 I always return the questionaires.
       11 didn't receive bc office or mailing error
       12 N/A
       13 i always attend the meetings
       14 not receiving the questionnaire
       15 Never given one
       16 Have never received a questionnaire.
       17 not a problem returning them
       18 I return questionaires
       19 they never send them to me
       20 None. I always return the questionnaires.
       21 no problems with this
       22 Always submit a questionnaire
       23 Lack of notice
       24 always respond to questionnaires and return by fax
       25 I responded every time.
       26 n/a
       27 None
       28 not practical
       29 court doesn't care or pay and time required
       30 Time, reimburse., follow recommendations of agency
       31 rarelt get questionnaires
       32 No barriers
       33 I always return if I get them. I rarely get notice
       34 never get them
       35 Don't know anything about these!!
       36 I return the questionaire, unless I attend hearing
       37 I always return them.
       38 inadequate notice
       39 Inadequate time given to return them
       40 No reviews held in Luce County
41   I return them unless I attend the meeting
42   Never received one
43   I do not receive
44   I appear.
45   all I receive are returned
46   Never happened
47   never received one
48   not familiar with Foster care review
49   not a problem -- usually not requested because i d
50   Never requested
51   Usually are returned
52   see above
53   i return all inquiries
54   None
55   Not notified in time
56   NEVER ASKED TO ATTEND
57   I always retrun questionnaires if received
58   Never recieved any
59   None
60   I always send in the response
61   It serves no useful purpose.
62   I've never received a questionaire
63   I have always returned the questionaires.
64   Not asked sometimes
65   inadeqate notice
66   usually in accord with position of DHS
67   Time, money, priorities of child-client
68   N/A, have returned all
69   I do not get questionnaires from the Foster Care
70   I always return questionaires when sent to me
71   Never received any questionnaires.
72   i try to hand deliver them
73   If sent to me I responsed to them
74   never rec'd
75   never received
76   Never received one
77   None
40. For which of the following activities or expenses are you reimbursed?
Please check all that apply.
#         Response
        1 MCLC
        2 disposition and review hearings
        3 court hearings, home visits
        4 Only poorly reimbursed for court hearings
        5 Drafting, Court and client time
        6 hearings, meetings, phonecalls
        7 Covered in our flat fee stipend from the County
        8 set contract price per month no expenses repaid
        9 Mileage only if over 30 miles round trip
       10 travel time & meeting w/child client
       11 flat per month fee for ALL probate court work
       12 Flat rate for all above
       13 Everything, except out-of-pocket expenses, mileage
       14 court hearings only
       15 only regular scheduled court hearings. no other.
       16 I am reimbursed for the actual hearings only.
       17 The private bar does not get reimbursed.
       18 Attendance at hearings
       19 Only court hearings
       20 Court hearings and appointments with child
       21 occasionally milleage. Only comped for court apps.
       22 I am sometimes reimbursed for the above.
       23 having dinner with a child in their placement
       24 I am compensated only for court hearings.
       25 monthly amount for representing children in court
       26 court hearings only at a set rate
       27 I get paid for travel time instead of mileage
       28 paid for hearing time only
       29 Court Hearings in Juvenile Court
       30 court hearings only
       31 not paid for any of above
       32 NONE!!!!!!!!!
       33 NOTHING and only 75 dollars per hearing.
       34 We get a flat rate pursuant to contract.
       35 travel and time to visit with child
       36 None, unless I file a motion
       37 court hearings only
       38 Hearings, mileage over 50 miles one way
       39 any check that we write out
       40 Paid only for court appearances
41   The proper word is "expunction."
42   some mileage-only over 30 miles from court.
43   All time spent on the case: visits, etc.
44   court hearings, visitations, necessary meetings
45   mileage is paid only if it is 100 miles or more rt
46   Court hearings
47   Clinton reimburse but not Ingham
48   My Contract w/ Midland Couty pays a flat rate.
49   Contractual fee
43. What, if anything, would you change about the Michigan statute governing LGAL representation? (MCL 7
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43. What, if anything, would you change about the Michigan statute governing LGAL representation? (MCL 712.17d)
          Response
          LGAL's should be compensated for all mileage and expenses required to do visits required by the
          court rule.
          Affidavit requirement adds more work to cases that require tremendous time with insufficent
          compensation.
          Increase compensation to retain good attorneys. Compensate for time to schedule and visit kids ..
          then require the GAL to submit a report similar to probate GAL. Compensation is the key .. you get
          what you pay for.
          I think it would be beneficial to have education requirements. Too often not every attorney is on the
          same level or expertise or know how concerning attachment, mental health or the services available.
          LGAL's often represent both parents and kids and it is important that they know the ropes legally and
          how to cross examine mental health and other professionals and what the standards actually should be
          for children of certain ages or with FAS, etc.
          Mandatory minimum years of practice as a licensed attorney;
          LGAL must pay attention to placement of removed children with relatives as a high priority; oversee
          home study process to ascertain that they are done in a timely manner and that relatives are not
          unreasonably excluded for placement
          Would require LGAL's to attend training and commitment to the children. Too many attorneys take
          the appointments simply to earn the income.
          Nothing, requirements are fair and necessary to represent the child.
          LGAL's should have the ability to access any information regarding the child without the use of
          releases. We should not need to use DHS to get resources and information.
          The need to meet with and observe the child to comply. Many times this is difficult because of the
          timing of hearings, the age of the child and the LGAL's lack of training as a social worker. What can
          we as lawyer's observe in a two year old that is not being monitored by other agencies. I try and see
          what they are seeing and ask pertitnent questions of these professionals for follow up services.
          See previous responses regarding implementing GAL discretion in some cases to allow less visits, if
          appropriorate, or reimburse for more visits if appropriate. Alternatively, the GALs should be paid for
          home visits and/or DHS and the GAL should be allowed to alternate visits so long as both are
          collecting the same information.
          None. The biggest problem general lack of education as to what it requires and authorizes.
          I think it is important to meet with the kids on a regular basis. They won't tell you about a black eye,
          or the rug burn, over the phone, for example.
          THE COURT SHOULD SWITCH ALL COURT APPOINTED WORK FROM THE COUNTY
          BASED COMPENSATION SYSTEMS TO A STATEWIDE UNIVERSAL SYSTEM THAT PAYS
          AN HOURLY RATE WITH COMPENSATION FOR INCURRED EXPENSES WITHOUT
          THE NECESSITY TO FILE A MOTION.
          Rate of compensation and caseload
          There is no reason to require us to review the DHS file. That is a waste of time. We get the reports
          and the files are normally not up to date.
          I am in agreement with the requirements of MCL 712.17d.
The visitation requirements are too rigid. Some cases require more contact than mandated and some
cases really require monitoring more than regular visits. The JGAL should be afforded some latitude
to use reasonable discretion in communicating and advocating on behalf of a client just as in any other
area of practice.
compensation
There is little to no benefit to a LGAL to meet with any child unable to speak to them, for example
infants to preschool age children or chldren with special needs. The reality is that the children wonder
why they are meeting with you and you end up speaking only with the adult. Why disrupt the child
further by doing this?
Compensation needs to better fit what is being asked of attorneys. $75 a hearing is not adequate.
The correct statutory reference is MCL 712A.17d. MCL 712A.17d(1)(c) states in pertinent part: "The
agency case file shall be reviewed before disposition and before the hearing for termination of parental
rights." Unfortunately, Washtenaw DHS does not grant LGAL requests to examine the case file
without a struggle. Also, the "case file" is not located in one place. The statute should be amended to
require the DHS to bring the entire case file to court at the time of the disposition hearing and the
termination hearing so that the LGAL can review it.
LGAL should be compensated to visit and for various events outside of court.
mandatory compensation for professional services adjusted for cost of living and overhead expenses.
I would mandate training for LGAL's paid for by the Court w/the attendees being paid for their time.
Provide funding
post termination review attendance. written reports a possibility?
I think the statue is good, unfortunately, some LGALs do not want to volunteer as much time as is
actually required given no pay for the time when not in court.
There should be a minimum number of years practicing family law before allowed to represent
parents/children in NA cases.
Nothing
Not require visit with infants prior to EVERY hearing. Conference with caretakers should be
Your citation is incorrect. MCL712A.17d should omit the language relating to mandatory visitation.
GAL represents child's wishes to a certain extent, but must consider what is in child's best interests.
Meeting with the child each and every hearing is not simply not necessary. The rule is not practical or
necessary.
kidsrequirement to visit before every court hearing-unless state or county will pay mileage and
No coming to court more often; mileage/time reimbursement
attorney fees. Even then, sometimes hearings are scheduled monthly and it would be a waste of time
to visit again.
Compensation to attend Foster Care Review Hearings. Comp. to attend Team Decision Meetings, this
is where many of the real decisions are hashed out behind closed doors and before the court hearing.
Compensation to visit service providers may make a difference.
The wording changed to state that the LGAL must "have contact with and/or observe the child."
Phone and email are a great way to keep in touch with our older children, especially with their busy
schedules and ours. I have a lot of phone and email contact with my clients and believe that is
sufficient to meet the purpose of the statute.
Reimbursement for visits
In some cases, the requirement for a face-to-face visit before each hearing is extremely burdensome
and in other cases it is not nearly enough.
Reasonable compensation.
Clarify DHS requirements to provide access to case file and service provider records. Require reports
of LGAL in every matter.
delete requirement to meet with child before each hearing. Often this is neither necessary nor
productive. I would leave it to the discretion of the Judge and LGAL.
Require compensation for visits since the county completely ignores the time and expense in meeting
this requirement.
the entire role needs to be revised as to duties, compensation, responsibilities
mandatory reimbursement and payment levels. Quicker decisions regarding the children's permanency
and placement.
LGAL's should be compensated. In Wayne County, we are expected to meet the requirements of the
statute at our own expense. As a result it is economically impossible to perform my duties as LGAL as
I would like.
need fair compenstation for work requested
It is often a waste of time to meet an infant who cannot communicate their wants, wishes and desires.
There should be and age requirement because typically I recieve my information from the foster
It sounds politically correct to mandate the visiting of children prior to hearing but in reality it adds
little to the representation of the child or children. Very little information is received from speaking
with the children especially the younger children. However that being said it is certainly a benefit to
visit and consult with teenagers.
Allow LGAL to meet with client by phone without requiring that the court grant permission for
phone visit after LGAL has shown good cause on the record.
Court is reducing the fees set in 1992 by one/third for LGALs in Developmentally Disabled Person
cases which not only involve visits, but serving petitions and Notice of Hearings, filing Proof of
Services and preparing Orders.
too many to detail i could write new legislation
Do not require us to meet before every hearing....it is not necessary on all cases! I.e. babies and
children that can't communicate and Children out of the State!
More Reimbursement. Most quallified LGALs are woefully undercompensated.
Attorney payment
Make exceptions when children are placed more than 100 miles away. You should be required to visit
them at least one time in that placement, and then allowed to have contact via phone and other
methods.
There should be an minimum age requirement regarding mandatory meetings with child client. Some
kids are just too young to communicate anything meaningful and it is a waste of time better spent
elsewhere
Reimbursement. We are volunteers and it is getting too expensive with gas prices. There is no respect
for what we do whatsoever.
There should be a dual system. A guardian ad litem to facilitate the issues of the child and a lawyer
who represents the child through the GAL. A social worker for the social work aspect and a lawyer
for the legal aspect. It would mirror the way DHS is represented by the prosecutor.
none
Visits once in period from preliminary to disposition.
That County Court system can set own standards for appointment. Should have statewide
appointment system. Requiring that attorney live or have primary practice in county is too limiting.
LGALs should be permitted to practice in more than 1 county.
somehow someway keep us notified of any contact info change -- and maybe give us the master list of
contacts (ie ALL tele # & addresses) for all fosterhomes involved with the courts so we do not have
to beg some of the workers for it
Allow for the waiver of atty-client privilege by the LGAL for the limited purpose if the child reports
being abused/neglected in foster care. Place the affirmative duty to contact MCI as to the permanency
plan from MCL 400.204 into MCL 712A.17d.
require trainings by those wishing to represent children
More trainings for LGAL's; Mileage compensation; hiring a co-GAL when child is located in a
placement more than 150 miles away from court [some counties do this]; court-ordered access to
information about the child from DHS.
better compensations
That we be given more information and/or authority than dhs
An attorney should not be required to state under oath or certify in writing he/she has complied with
the statute.
require court to pay milage and a proper fee in relation to fees usually paid for legal representation.
This is similar situation to criminal defense payments to attorneys.
ntation? (MCL 712.17d)
44. Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the representation of Michigan children by LGAL,
LGAL statute (MCL 712.17d)
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44. Is there anything else you would like to add concerning the representation of Michigan children by LGAL, or about t
LGAL statute (MCL 712.17d)
           Response
           In general, LGAL's are very underpaid. With the cost of gas skyrocketing, LGALs should receive
           adequate compensation for mileage and expenses involved with visiting children. As a member of a
           Wayne County attorney group/pod (MCLC), I am of the opinion and have firsthand knowledge that
           private bar attorneys who were court appointed who did LGAL cases in Wayne County before the
           pods were appointed (LADA, MCLC etc.), these private bar attorneys were grossly overpaid and
           rarely if ever visited children. With the attorney groups taking over the LGAL cases in Wayne, I
           believe the LGALs in these attorney groups provide far superior representation of children in
           comparison to the previous private bar attorneys because there is very little substituting and visits with
           children are dutifully done and attorneys from these groups have a better work ethic than the private
           bar attorneys did. The LGALs from attorney groups like MCLC are not focused on taking advantage
           of the "system" (maximum payment with least amount of work for court appointed services) like the
           private bar attorneys were who previously did LGAL cases in Wayne County before the creation of
           I take seriously my responsibility to these kids. I am a father, a registered nurse and attorney. Until the
           State, however, compensates attorneys for all the work needed to schedule and visit the kids, and
           advocate for them, the State will continue to have problems. I get paid $75.00 for a review hearing ...
           so if I spend 2 hours traveling to see a kid ... waiting for court hearings, my hourly rate drops below
           $20/hr. I lose money because my overhead exceeds that every day.
           The only reason that I feel LGAL should be paid more is to ensure that there is adequate training and
           competence for the people allowed to represent child. Because of the other areas I practice in time
           and court conflicts are limited, which allow me to take trainings and be involved more with the
           children and services. Most LGAL's are usually involved in more trial time and when there is a
           conflict will allow the higher paying stuff to trump because we all have bills to pay.
           The NACC's Child Welfare Law certification should be considered as a requirement for LGALs
           To truly investigate a case for a child-client, LGAL's need more time and money to travel and request
           documentation.
           Clarify/Add that LGAL should be authorized to obtain school and medical records.
           For visits to children who are placed very far away, our pay amounts to about minimum wage.
           Another pay scale would be great!
           I represent 264 children, 140 families. For this, I receive $4,000 per month from the County, which
           clearly does not even meet a minimum wage standard. I do the work because I love it, but clearly
           financial constraints and caseload prevent me from giving significant time to each case and each child.
           If this is such an important task for an attorney to protect our children, that is not demonstrated via
           the pay and caseload.
           LGAL's in our area are concerned, committed practicioners. Most have several years experience in the
           area. All are underpaid. When contracting for services for other professionals, such as medical and
           psychological services, the market rate is paid, yet the attorneys are reimbursed at well below the
           market rate. When I consider the overhead in my office, I lose money by accepting these cases. I can
           only rationalize accepting these cases as being a part of my pro bono obligation.
           compensation
L-Gal form should not have to be notarized.
DHS MUST get the reports to the parties and counsel earlier. Normally, I am handed the report
minutes before we go on the record. I have given up making a record of that fact, because the referee
roles his eyes and indicates his understanding that DHS is struggling with its new software program.
Prior to the implementation of that program, I might get the reports a couple days prior. When I do
receive it prior to the hearing, most of the time it is faxed to my office, which uses up my paper and
resources. I don't know how we are supposed to be fully informed for the hearings when we're forced
to review the report for the first timeQuestion 40, Washtenaw appearances for the for many
As you can see from my response to while the Judge is taking does not reimburse record.
proceedings, and its reimbursement for mileage is inadequate. This failure to reimburse is one factor
which led me to decide several years ago to no longer accept LGAL appointments. I only have one
open case.
just compensation.
My role is limited. I am only appointed to represent the personal interests of the child when the
personal interest conflict with the best interest.
I think the court is looking to the LGAL to monitor the social agencies. The agencies do respond to
the LGALs.
The smaller counties are financially inferior, and the state if it wishes to implement these rules, should
subsidize the county's budgets.
compensation inadequate--fortunately i have a pension.
greater compensation would be helpful given fuel costs, and costs of parking
So much that can be done, and so little time as a busy practioner. So much social work can be done,
so much information can be gathered on the child about their history, social, pyschological, medical,
and so forth.
It has gotten too expensive to represent children as an LGAL because we are not reimbursed for
mileage (except in rare cases) and we are not paid to visit the children. I find that I am called quite a
bit by foster parents and others and spend time trying to answer their questions and resolve problems,
and I am not paid for that, either. Furthermore, we are not paid for adjournments, so we may show
up for a hearing and wait 2 hours or so and then have the hearing adjourned to another date.
There needs to be compensation for visiting the child, especially with today's gas prices.
Include that the LGAL must be notified at least seven days prior to a child being replaced in foster
care unless an emergency situation arises, so that the LGAL has an opportunity to meet with the child
and determine if an objection should be made to the replacement. Also, that placement information
must be provided to the LGAL within two days of the child being placed so that there is enough time
for the LGAL to see the child prior to the first hearing. To excuse the LGAL from having an
additional visit when there are two hearings within a three to four week period. To require DHS to
provide all Early on assessments in a timely manner to the LGALs so that we can be sure that the
assessments are actually taking place and to better identify what our childrens needs are, and what
services should be in place for them. Also to provide any IEP or IEPC results.
I have a teen-age client that is placed approximately three hours away and the court has made it clear
that I will not be reimbursed for any mileage or travel expenses whatsoever. Past LGALs have been
unwilling to continue to serve due to this policy and that has been harmful to the child. Recently, our
court approved an increase in court-appointed fees from $52 per hour for all cases to $75 per hour for
criminal felony cases only. The attorneys who serve on the other types of cases, particularly in child
protective proceedings were greatly offended by this considering how dilligently most of them work
on their cases and become emotionally invested in them.
I believe that the "Pods" being used by the Wayne County Juvenile Court do not adequately represent
the best interest of children. The attorneys have to be prodded to visit the children, generally, and
often are not prepared for court hearings with the wishes of the children. I believe individual attorneys
best serve the needs of the children.
Court should be more concerned about DHS compliance with services and court orders, and about
placement options with willing relatives and fictive kins. Court should make LGAL report a more
central part of hearings, rather than just focusing on DHS report and allowing LGAL to ask questions
or comment. LGAL should be paid mileage routinely. LGAL should not be dismissed right after each
hearing, and should be permitted to bring motion or petition to address issues that come up before
next annual review hearing. LGAL should be automatically and promptly be given a copy of
everything in court file, DHS file and prosecutor file (after demand file). About 75% of my billing is
attributable to efforts to procure such information, and invariably it comes too late for me to act on it,
other than to question DHS case worker at hearing which often causes later animosity and further
lack of cooperation or even total shutdown of communication about important matters affecting
The State shoud not increase requirements without providing adequate compensation.
Make it easier to be compensated for extraordinary services, especially when the referee doesn't
"order" that you represent your client on related matters, but you know the client cannot handle the
legal matter without you. Ex: pursuing custody of child in another county so that parental rights do
not have to be terminated.
LGALs are not kept informed enough by caseworkers on the moves and actions of the child during
the interim period between hearings.
specified and independent LGALs - not a rotating system
The MCI has to much autonomy, I have dealt with him on isseus and there are no checks in place on
his powers.
The move to pods in Wayne County and away from the private bar is a mistake. I see the quality of
representation that children recieve to be suffering.
i believe that the judges and counsel in kent county generally do, and try to do, an excellent job for
these children
That LGAL's will be fairly compensated for the time and money that they spend complying with
MCL 712.17d
LGALs should get reimbursed for making visits. I did two today, neither was in this county. Even
worse the fee for the LGAL in post termination cases is so low ($60.00) that there is essentially a
negative fee for such representation.
experience and lifetime committment in the real world and have no ststistical value in a survey, come
to court and shadow me
If you just want a warm body, newly admitted attorney, then don't change anything. If you want more
than just a volunteer with minimum experience and filling a slot, then re-evaluate compensatin
schecule. LGAL is a specialty if you really want to serve children who come under the jurisdiction of
the court.
our county compensates all appointed attorneys at the same flat monthly rate, whether you represent
parent or child and the GAL has a lot more requirements to meet than others.
Realistically, it is too hard to see children every hearing. If a child is an infant, it makes no sense to see
the child that often.
In Kalamazoo County the Court allows two attorneys to represent children exclusively.No other
lawyers are allowed to only represent children. This has caused a problem in that these lawyers are no
longer involved with parents in cases and have lost sight of our mandate to reunit families. Our
system used to allow for lawyers to have to take both parent and child appointments as they arose.
This led to a well rounded defenders group for both children and parents. If exclusive childrens
attorneys are to be allowed then that option should be offered to all who wish to just represent
children. I believe it is in everyones best interest to have attorneys that can see bother sides of the
issues in a case and work for reunitfication if possible.
The whole of "Binsfield" is the matrix, form over substance, perception over reality. It makes people
look good and feel good but it is degrading. It works in harmony with IV-E funding, whose purpose
is to save coffures by denying funding for semantics. It denies the professional lawyer the opportunity
to work his/her craft. Best interests and advocacy is a craft and this system makes a mockery of it. It
makes LGAL's not only prove their competence and craft but also their morality. It makes us prove
that we care. It's a simple thing, if you do what the statute dictates (although it truly is impossible like
IV-E funding) you are not only competent but you care about the children and don't just exploit them
for the fortune we make as GAL's. We have to prove that we would take a bullet for these kids
whereas the legislators, robed ones, Connie Binsfield, Nora Corregan have proved they care by
castigating us. Personally, I refuse to be judged by the likes of them. I get satisfaction from some of
the kids who age out of the system and call me up and ask for help in legal areas or sometimes to tell
That the schools MUST cooperate with the LGAL in providing school records and access to clients.
Therapists or medical personnel provide access to client's records, or speak to the LGAL regarding
client's special conditions.
paid for mileage, visits and TDMs
adequate payment for all services required
Services are inadequate, therapy sometimes requires specialization. My advocacy is sometimes wasted
on arguing reasonable efforts, no real definition.
just above -- it takes so much extra time when we have to search for our clients
Mandate that if the LGAL is not going to file an appellate brief, then place a duty on the LGAL to
inform the trial court in order that the trial court can appoint an LGAL for appeal. Also, allow the
LGAL access to the home studies of the prospective adoptive parents to ensure a safe permanent
placement.
WE aren't paid enough
A good LGAL is not something that you can legislate. It takes a person who loves to spend time with
kids. In Kent County there are many people who are really great at it and spend a lot of time doing it.
There are some who barely know their clients. I am unaware of anyone failing to comply with the
statute. It's really more of a personal committment issue.
DHS needs to understand the LGAL's role.
The largest hurdle is reimbursement for full adherence to the statute. Courts really need more money
to allow LGAL to do their jobs. I find that Ionia LGAL seem to comply more and be more involved
than larger surrounding counties (from hearsay).
THe LGAL should have access to all the information re: the child. We should not have to beg for it
every quarter. We should also receive this information on a timely basis and not the day before or the
day of the hearing. We should receive all the information that DHS is required to maintian including
student records, medical, counseling reports, etc. I waste a lot of time locating this information on my
own when DHS has the information in their files.
DHS has too much power.
No
ildren by LGAL, or about the
SCAO Guardian Ad
Litem
Results Overview

The purpose of this survey is to evaluate the current working environment for
 Lawyers-Guardian Ad Litem (LGAL). Please reply to this survey so that the
State Court Administrative Office (SCAO) can assess your working conditions
 and responsibilities. Survey data will remain confidential, only aggregate data
            will be shared. Please complete the survey by July 28.

Background

   3. How many years have you been serving as a LGAL for
     children in child protective proceedings in Michigan?


0-5 years                                                                           65   34%

6-10 years                                                                          46   24%

11-15 years                                                                         25   13%

More than 15                                                                        53   28%

Total                                                                              189   100%


 4. How many child protective cases do you accept per year as
  an LGAL for a child? For the purpose of this question each
  family, even with multiple children, is considered one case.


0-10 cases                                                                          83   44%

11-20 cases                                                                         58   31%

21-30 cases                                                                         19   10%

More than 30                                                                        29   15%
Total                                                            189   100%




  5. How many child protective cases do you accept per year
 representing a parent? For the purpose of this question each
  family, even with multiple children, is considered one case.


0-10 cases                                                        89   47%

11-20 cases                                                       57   30%

21-30 cases                                                       24   13%

More than 30                                                      20   11%

Total                                                            190   100%



6. On average how many individual children do you represent
                  as an LGAL per year?


0-20                                                              94   49%

21-40                                                             57   30%

41-60                                                             20   11%

61-80                                                              9    5%

81-100                                                             4    2%

101-200                                                            0    0%

Over 200                                                           6    3%

Total                                                            190   100%
Training


 7. Have you had training in any of the following areas in the
         past five years? Please check all that apply.


Michigan Judicial Institute LGAL training

Child development

Child interviewing

Attachment disorders

Psychotropic medication

Substance abuse

Domestic violence

Mental illness

Sexual abuse

Role of DHS (e.g., foster care worker, CPS worker, adoption worker)
Role of other stakeholders (e.g., children’s ombudsman, CASA, MCI, office of
family advocate)
Social service resources available in community (e.g., counseling, parenting
classes, mentoring)

Special education

Education resources
Trial skills (e.g., cross/direct examinations, opening statements, closing
arguments)

Michigan child welfare law

Child Welfare Appellate Skills training

None

Other, please specify:
Access to Case-Related Information



8. Do you typically receive the following
information as an LGAL without
requesting it?

Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.

Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   Yes          No
                                                                             37         153
Child’s school records                                                     19%         81%
                                                                             33         156
Child’s medical records                                                    17%         83%
                                                                             73         115
Child's DHS case file                                                      39%         61%
                                                                             58         130
Child’s delinquency/probation records                                      31%         69%
                                                                             79         108
Child’s counseling records                                                 42%         58%
                                                                            107          81
Information directly from service providers working with parents           57%         43%
                                                                             14         167
Adoption file                                                               8%         92%
                                                                             86          99
Adoption report                                                            46%         54%
                                                                             92          89
CASA report                                                                51%         49%


9. If you need but do not receive
information listed in Question 8, which of
the following actions do you take to ensure
receipt of the information? Please indicate
the frequency.


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.
                                                                     Very
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   frequently Regularly
                                                                            63         87
Phone calls
Phone calls                                                                         34%         47%
                                                                                      15          46
Letters                                                                              9%         27%
                                                                                      23          45
e-Mail                                                                              13%         25%
                                                                                      39          72
In person contact                                                                   21%         39%
                                                                                       7          10
Subpoena                                                                             4%          6%
                                                                                       3           5
Other                                                                                3%          5%


10. Do you typically present the following
information about your child-client to the
court?


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.                           Sometime
                                                                                       s, when
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.            Yes      relevant
                                                                                    74        101
School status                                                                     40%        54%
                                                                                    65        104
Health status/records                                                             35%        56%
                                                                                    48         98
Child's prior CPS/foster care history                                             26%        53%
                                                                                    32        113
Delinquency/probation history                                                     17%        62%
                                                                                    70         89
Counseling history                                                                38%        48%
Parents’ compliance with services (based on direct information from service        108         51
providers)                                                                        58%        28%


Representation

12. Do you usually have an adequate
opportunity to interview the following
individuals prior to adjudication?


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.

                                                                              Yes          No
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   Yes          No
                                                                            180           9
Child                                                                      95%          5%
                                                                            125          62
Custodial parent(s)                                                        67%         33%
                                                                             74         106
Non-custodial parent(s)                                                    41%         59%
                                                                            152          33
Foster parent(s)                                                           82%         18%
                                                                            166          20
Foster care/CPS worker                                                     89%         11%
                                                                             61         121
Police                                                                     34%         66%
                                                                             64         117
Teacher/school personnel                                                   35%         65%
                                                                             93          84
CASA volunteers                                                            53%         47%
                                                                             45         136
Medical personnel                                                          25%         75%


13. How often have you asked the court to
relieve you of your LGAL responsibilities?

Never-10 times                                                             189         99%

11-20 times                                                                  1          1%

21-30 times                                                                  0          0%

More than 30 times                                                           0          0%

Total                                                                      190         100%


14. Under what circumstances have you
requested to be relieved of your LGAL
responsibilities? Please check all that
apply.

Financial reasons                                                            9          6%

Time constraints                                                             9          6%
Caseload                                       2    1%

Travel                                        14    9%

Travel reimbursement                          11    7%

Burn-out                                       2    1%

Judicial scheduling                           12    7%

N/A                                           99   61%

Other, please specify: See TAB Question 14    42   26%


15. On average, in what percentage of your
child protection cases each year do you
have another LGAL substitute for you at a
hearing?

0%-25%                                       190   100%

26%-50%                                        0    0%

51%-75%                                        0    0%

76%-100%                                       0     0%
Total                                        190   100%



16. Do you seek court approval before the
substitution?

Yes                                           90   50%

No                                            49   27%

Sometimes                                     40   22%

Total                                        179   100%
17. How frequently does each
circumstance listed below prevent you
from personally attending all hearings?


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.
                                                                     Very
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   frequently Regularly
                                                                              3          5
Not notified of a hearing                                                  2%         3%
                                                                              8        10
Busy in another courtroom                                                  4%         5%
                                                                              9          9
Scheduling conflicts                                                       5%         5%
                                                                              1          2
Unexpected personal conflicts                                              1%         1%


18. On average, how many conversations
do you have with the child's foster
parents/caregivers before the day of each
hearing?

0 conversations                                                              8        4%

1-2 conversations                                                          159       84%

3-4 conversations                                                           20       11%

More than 4                                                                  3        2%

Total                                                                      190      100%



19. On average, how many conversations
do you have with the caseworker about the
case before each hearing?

0 onversations                                                              10        5%

1-2 conversations                                                          122       66%

3-4 conversation.                                                           40       22%
More than 4                                                                 13          7%

Total                                                                      185         100%




20. In your normal course of representing a
child-client, do you meet with any of the
following stakeholders?


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.

Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   Yes          No
                                                                            125          61
Other siblings                                                             67%         33%
                                                                            124          64
Custodial parent(s)                                                        66%         34%
                                                                             65         120
Non-custodial parent(s)                                                    35%         65%
                                                                             29         155
Police                                                                     16%         84%
                                                                             46         133
Teacher/school personnel/coaches                                           26%         74%
                                                                             80          97
CASA volunteer                                                             45%         55%
                                                                             23         155
Medical personnel                                                          13%         87%
                                                                             30         150
Parent’s therapist                                                         17%         83%
                                                                             99          85
Child’s therapist                                                          54%         46%
                                                                            106          76
Adoption worker                                                            58%         42%


22. Do you obtain permission from
parents' counsel before communicating
with the child's parents?

Yes                                                                        146         79%
No                                                                           5        3%

Sometimes                                                                   33       18%


23. How would you rank the following
barriers to meeting with your child-client
prior to each hearing?


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.         Very
                                                                     significan Significan
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   t           t
                                                                              45        36
Distance between you and your child-client                                 24%        19%
                                                                              27        56
Availability of child-client or child’s caretaker                          14%        30%
                                                                               4        19
Concurrent scheduling of hearings                                            2%       10%
                                                                               3        21
Time and location of scheduled hearings                                      2%       11%
                                                                              46        26
Reimbursement of expenses/payment for time                                 24%        14%
                                                                              30        20
Being provided with placement information                                  16%        11%


26. On average, what percentage of the
time do judges inquire at court hearings
whether you have visited with the child?

0%-25%                                                                      32       17%

26%-50%                                                                     20       11%

51%-75%                                                                     15        8%

76%-100%                                                                   121       64%

Total                                                                      188      100%
27. Please indicate your level of
involvement in the development and
monitoring of the child's case plan, court
orders, and provision of services for the
family? Please check all that apply.
Not involved in the development and monitoring of case plan, court orders,
and provision of services                                                            26

Attend case conferences/periodic assessment meetings                                 84

Attend Foster Care Review Board meetings                                             73

Receive and review reports about child's progress                                   179

Receive and review reports about parents' progress                                  174

Make inquiries about status of court order implementation                           127

Speak with child's caretakers directly                                              169

Speak with child's caseworker directly                                              171

Speak with school or other educational personnel                                     65

Consult with adoption worker                                                         99

Consult with MCI Superintendent                                                      20

Participate in team decision making meetings                                         94




28. Do you receive a copy of the updated
report/service plan from the caseworker at
least five days before each court hearing?

Yes                                                                           22   12%

No                                                                            82   43%

Sometimes                                                                     85   45%

Total                                                                        189   100%
29. How frequently do you contact the
following individuals and/or take the
following actions when effective services
are not being provided in a timely fashion?
Please check all that apply.


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.
                                                                     Very
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   frequently Regularly
                                                                            67         75
Contact DHS caseworker                                                    35%        40%
                                                                            11         16
Contact DHS supervisor                                                     6%         9%
                                                                              2          4
Contact DHS central Office                                                 1%         2%
                                                                            16         58
Contact parents’ attorney                                                  9%        32%
                                                                              3        12
File a motion with the court                                               2%         6%
                                                                            67         66
Inform the court at the next hearing                                      36%        35%
                                                                              2          1
Notify Office of Family Advocate                                           1%         1%
                                                                              0          1
Notify children’s ombudsman                                                0%         1%
                                                                              2          6
Notify Foster Care Review Board                                            1%         3%


30. When the above situations occur, from
whom are you most likely to learn that
there is a problem with services? Please
rank in order 1-6, 1 being most likely to tell
you about a problem and 6 being least
likely.


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.

Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.           1          2
                                                                            57         30
Foster parent                                                             40%        21%
                                                                            11         24
Child-client                                                               7%        16%
                                                                            11         17
Biological parent                                                          7%        11%
                                                                            19         40
Other attorneys                                                           12%        25%
                                                                            50         38
Caseworker                                                                29%        22%
                                                                            13         20
CASA volunteer                                                             8%        12%


31. How frequently do you pursue issues
on behalf of the child that do not arise
directly from the scope of your court


Top number is the count of respondents selecting the option.
                                                                     Very
Bottom % is percent of the total respondents selecting the option.   frequently Regularly
                                                                              1          3
Immigration matters                                                        1%         2%
                                                                              2        15
School disciplinary matters                                                1%         8%
                                                                            17         37
Delinquency cases                                                          9%        20%
                                                                              7        28
Special education issues                                                   4%        15%
                                                                            12         21
Social services/general benefits                                           6%        11%
                                                                              2          5
Social Security/disability claims                                          1%         3%
                                                                              3          9
Tribal issues                                                              2%         5%
                                                                              1          5
Inheritance issues                                                         1%         3%
                                                                              4        15
Adult care transition issues                                               2%         8%



Best Interests/Wishes Conflict
32. Is it difficult to balance the “best
interests” and the personal wishes of the
child-client? If so, how difficult?

Very difficult                                 5    3%

Difficult                                     19   10%

Somewhat difficult                            95   50%

Seldom difficult                              65   34%

Not difficult                                  6    3%

Total                                        190   100%




33. Have you ever had to inform the court
of a conflict between a child's “best
interests” and a child's wishes?

Yes                                          158   83%

No                                            32   17%

Total                                        190   100%



34. If your answer to question 33 was yes,
please check the box that indicates the
percentage of cases in which this has
occurred.

0%-25%                                       143   87%

26%-50%                                       16   10%

51%-75%                                        5    3%
76%-100%                                         0    0%

Total                                          164   100%



35. Has such a conflict ever resulted in the
court appointing a separate attorney to
advocate for the child's wishes?

Yes                                             75   41%

No                                             106   59%

Total                                          181   100%



36. What issues arose that required the
court to appoint a separate attorney to
represent the child's wishes?

Placement                                       54   56%

Education                                        0    0%

Permanency plan                                 38   40%

Parenting time                                   4    4%

Total                                           96   100%



37. Which of the following barriers have
prevented you from attending Foster Care
Review Board hearings?

Lack of reimbursement                           30   17%

Other court hearings                            38   21%

Time required                                    7    4%
Inadequate notice                               37   20%

Not a high individual priority                   7    4%

Not a high court priority                       12    7%

Location                                         5    3%

Other, please specify:                          45   25%

Total                                          181   100%


38. Which of the following responses are
barriers for you returning questionnaires to
the Foster Care Review Board?

Not a high individual priority                   7    4%

Not a high court priority                       18   11%

Time required                                   21   13%

Lack of reimbursement                           18   11%

Schedule in court hearings or other matters     17   11%

Other, please specify:                          77   49%

Total                                          158   100%



Compensation Issues


39. As an LGAL, do you receive adequate
compensation?

Yes                                             36   20%

No                                             148   80%
Total                                                          184   100%


40. For which of the following activities or
expenses are you reimbursed? Please
check all that apply.

Mileage                                                         32   21%

Appearance before the Foster Care Review Board                  47   31%

CPS expungement hearings                                         3    2%

Representing children in guardianship/custody/adoption cases    90   59%

Attendance at trainings                                         10    7%

Attendance at team decision making meetings                     51   33%

Other, please specify: See TAB Question 40                      49   32%


41. How soon after you submit your LGAL
billing do you receive a check from the
county?

0-5 days                                                         7    4%

6-10 days                                                       13    7%

11-15 days                                                      42   24%

More than 15 days                                              113   65%

Total                                                          175   100%



42. How would you rank the level of
compliance of LGALs in your county with
the requirements in the Juvenile Code?

Poor                                                             2    1%
Fair         22   12%

Good         47   25%

Very good    73   39%

Excellent    43   23%

Total       187   100%
79   43%

37   20%

42   23%

28   15%

23   12%

56   30%

63   34%

53   29%

41   22%

50   27%

23   12%

52   28%

19   10%

22   12%

74   40%

73   40%

15   8%

14   8%

40   22%
Occasion
ally      Seldom Never
       32       4        1
    17%      2%     1%
      80      27      3
    47%     16%     2%
      44      39     26
    25%     22%    15%
      40      29      3
    22%     16%     2%
      35      75     47
    20%     43%    27%
      23      26     49
    22%     25%    46%




Yes, but
only
when
asked by No
         8     4
       4%    2%
        10     8
       5%    4%
        21    18
      11%   10%
        28    10
      15%    5%
        19     7
      10%    4%
        14    12
       8%    6%
Occasion
ally      Seldom Never
       24        64    89
     13%       35%   48%
       71        52    47
     38%       28%   25%
       82        52    35
     44%       28%   19%
       24        90    70
     13%       48%   37%
Somewha
t           Rarely
significan significan Insignific
t           t          ant
         51         39        19
      27%        21%        10%
         52         43        11
      28%        23%         6%
         40         78        48
      21%        41%        25%
         27         80        57
      14%        43%        30%
         31         40        45
      16%        21%        24%
         43         62        31
      23%        33%        17%
14%

45%

39%

95%

93%

68%

90%

91%

35%

53%

11%

50%
Occasion
ally      Seldom Never
       41         6      0
     22%        3%     0%
       89        59     12
     48%       32%     6%
       14        66     96
      8%       36%   53%
       69        34      7
     38%       18%     4%
       72        75     24
     39%       40%   13%
       36        14      3
     19%        8%     2%
        5        29    143
      3%       16%   79%
        6        35    139
      3%       19%   77%
       20        40    113
     11%       22%   62%




       3        4        5   6
      21       15       15      3
    15%      11%      11%     2%
      35       43       27     12
    23%      28%      18%     8%
      27       27       49     18
    18%      18%      33%    12%
      37       33       24      8
    23%      20%      15%     5%
      32       26       15     14
    18%      15%       9%     8%
      13       14       16     91
     8%       8%      10%    54%




Occasion
ally      Seldom Never
       21        28    134
     11%       15%   72%
       57        56     58
     30%       30%   31%
       75        31     27
     40%       17%   14%
       70        48     32
     38%       26%   17%
       67        49     37
     36%       26%   20%
       30        57     89
     16%       31%   49%
       22        36    115
     12%       19%   62%
       19        40    121
     10%       22%   65%
       53        34     82
     28%       18%   44%

								
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