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					                                           Indiana1
                                 Last edited: November 2005

Summary and Analysis

The court must consider whether to appoint a guardian ad litem or court appointed special
advocate in every case. Also, the juvenile court may appoint a guardian ad litem or a court
appointed special advocate, or both, for the child at any time. The appointment of a
guardian ad litem or CASA is mandatory in some cases: inability, refusal, or neglect of parent,
guardian or custodian to supply child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care,
education, or supervision; an act or omission of parent, guardian or custodian seriously
endangering child’s physical or mental health; the child is a victim of sex offense or living in
the same household as a victim of sex offense; the parent, guardian or custodian allows
child’s participation in obscene performance; the parent, guardian or custodian fails to
participate in a school disciplinary proceeding; or the child is missing. Although the guardian
ad litem is not required to be an attorney, an attorney may be appointed as guardian ad litem.
A lay guardian ad litem must complete the same court approved training required of court
appointed special advocates. The court may appoint an attorney to represent the guardian ad
litem.

According to Indiana law, the guardian ad litem must represent the child's best interests. If
there is a conflict between the child's best interests and what the child wants, the guardian ad
litem will generally present both positions to the court, although the guardian ad litem is not
required to do so by statute. In practice, children are not appointed separate attorneys to
represent them. In practice, however, attorney guardians ad litem are bound by the best
interests standard and do not advocate for the child's wishes if they are inconsistent with
best interests.

Sources of Law

Statutes

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-12 (Appointment of guardian ad litem or court appointed
special advocate)
The juvenile court may appoint a guardian ad litem or a court appointed special advocate, or
both, for the child at any time.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-23 (Persons ineligible for appointment)
A court may not appoint a party to the proceedings, an employee of a party to the
proceedings, or a representative of a party to the proceedings as the:
        (1) guardian ad litem;
        (2) court appointed special advocate;
        (3) guardian ad litem program; or
        (4) court appointed special advocate program;
for a child involved in the proceedings.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-34 (Appointment of child's attorney as guardian ad litem or
court appointed special advocate)
A guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate need not be an attorney, but the
attorney representing the child may be appointed the child's guardian ad litem or court
appointed special advocate.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-45 (Representation by attorney)
The guardian ad litem or the court appointed special advocate may be represented by an
attorney.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-56 (Court appointment of attorney)
If necessary to protect the child's interests, the court may appoint an attorney to represent
the guardian ad litem or the court appointed special advocate. The court may only appoint
one (1) attorney under this section.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-67 (Representation of best interests of child)
A guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate shall represent and protect the best
interests of the child.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-78 (Officers of the court)
The guardian ad litem or the court appointed special advocate, or both, shall be considered
officers of the court for the purpose of representing the child's interests.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-99 (Fees)
If any fees arise, payment shall be made under IC 31-40.

Indiana Code § 31-32-3-1010 (Civil immunity)
Except for gross misconduct, if:
(1) the guardian ad litem;
(2) a court appointed special advocate;
(3) an employee of a county guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate program;
or
(4) a volunteer for a county guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate program;
performs duties in good faith, the guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate is
immune from any civil liability that may occur as a result of that person's performance
during the time that the person is acting within the duties of the guardian ad litem or court
appointed special advocate program.

Indiana Code § 31-34-10-211 (Initial hearing; appointment of representation)
(a) The juvenile court shall hold an initial hearing on each petition.
(b) The juvenile court shall set a time for the initial hearing. A summons shall be issued for
the following:
        (1) The child.
        (2) The child's parent, guardian, custodian, guardian ad litem, or court appointed
        special advocate.
        (3) Any other person necessary for the proceedings.
(c) A copy of the petition must accompany each summons.

Indiana Code § 31-34-10-312 (Appointment of guardian ad litem or court appointed
special advocate)
Before complying with the other requirements of this chapter, the juvenile court shall first
determine whether the following conditions make it appropriate to appoint a guardian ad
litem or a court appointed special advocate, or both, for the child:
(1) If the child is alleged to be a child in need of services:
         (A) under IC 31-34-1-6 (Child substantially endangering own or another's health);
         (B) under IC 31-34-1-10 or IC 31-34-1-11 (Child born with fetal alcohol syndrome
         or with controlled substance or legend drug in child's body);
         (C) due to the inability, refusal, or neglect of the child's parent, guardian, or
         custodian to supply the child with the necessary medical care; or
         (D) because the location of both of the child's parents is unknown;
the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate, or both, for
the child.
(2) If the child is alleged to be a child in need of services under:
         (A) IC 31-34-1-1 (Inability, refusal, or neglect of parent, guardian or custodian to
         supply child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or
         supervision);
         (B) IC 31-34-1-2 (Act or omission of parent, guardian or custodian seriously
         endangering child's physical or mental health);
         (C) IC 31-34-1-3 (Victim of sex offense; living in same household as victim of sex
         offense);
         (D) IC 31-34-1-4 (Parent, guardian or custodian allowing child's participation in
         obscene performance);
         (E) IC 31-34-1-5 (Parent, guardian or custodian allowing child to commit sex
         offense);
         (F) IC 31-34-1-7 (Parent, guardian or custodian failing to participate in school
         disciplinary proceeding); or
         (G) IC 31-34-1-8 (Missing child);
         the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, court appointed special advocate, or both,
         for the child.
(3) If the parent, guardian, or custodian of a child denies the allegations of a petition under
section 6 of this chapter, the court shall appoint a guardian ad litem, court appointed special
advocate, or both, for the child.

Indiana Code § 31-34-10-913 (Dispositional hearing; factfinding hearing; consent)
(a) If the allegations of a petition have been admitted, the juvenile court may hold a
dispositional hearing immediately after the initial hearing.
(b) If the allegations have been denied, the juvenile court may hold the factfinding hearing
immediately after the initial hearing.
(c) The following persons must consent to holding a hearing under subsection (a) or (b)
immediately after the initial hearing:
         (1) The child if competent to do so.
         (2) The child's:
                  (A) counsel;
                  (B) guardian ad litem;
                  (C) court appointed special advocate;
                  (D) parent;
                  (E) guardian; or
                  (F) custodian.
        (3) The person representing the interests of the state.


Indiana Code § 31-33-15-114 (Appointment of guardian ad litem and count appointed
special advocate)
In every judicial proceeding under this article, the court may appoint for the child a guardian
ad litem or a court appointed special advocate, or both, under IC 31-32-3.

Indiana Code § 31-33-15-215 (Access to reports)
The guardian ad litem or the court appointed special advocate, or both, shall be given access
under IC 31-39 to:
(1) all reports relevant to the case; and
(2) any reports of examinations of the child's parents or other person responsible for the
child's welfare.

Indiana Code § 31-33-15-316 (Costs of services of guardian ad litem)
Any costs related to the services of a guardian ad litem shall be paid according to IC 31-40.

Indiana Code § 31-9-2-2817 (Court appointed special advocate defined)
"Court appointed special advocate", for purposes of IC 31-15- 6, IC 31-17-6, IC 31-19-16,
IC 31-19-16.5, and the juvenile law, means a community volunteer who:
(1) has completed a training program approved by the court;
(2) has been appointed by a court to represent and protect the best interests of a child; and
(3) may research, examine, advocate, facilitate, and monitor a child's situation.

Indiana Code § 31-9-2-5018 (Guardian ad litem defined)
"Guardian ad litem", for purposes of IC 31-15-6, IC 31-16-3, IC 31-19-16, IC 31-19-16.5,
and the juvenile law, means an attorney, a volunteer, or an employee of a county program
designated under IC 33-24-6-4 who is appointed by a court to:
(1) represent and protect the best interests of a child; and
(2) provide the child with services requested by the court, including:
        (A) researching;
        (B) examining;
        (C) advocating;
        (D) facilitating; and
        (E) monitoring;
the child's situation.

A guardian ad litem who is not an attorney must complete the same court approved training
program that is required for a court appointed special advocate under section 28 of this
chapter.

Cases

In re J.C. 19
Purpose of appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) is to represent and protect the best
interests of the child and to provide the child with services requested by the court such as
researching, examining, advocating, facilitating, and monitoring the child's situation.

Order requiring county office of family and children to pay attorney fees incurred by court-
appointed guardian ad litem (GAL) in child in need of services (CHINS) proceeding was not
clearly erroneous; no appearance was created that county office was controlling guardian ad
litem, or that they were not distinct entities, and statutory basis existed for requiring county
office to pay fees.

Ethical Provision

Indiana Rules of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.1420 (Client with Diminished
Capacity)
(a) When a client's capacity to make adequately considered decisions in connection with a
representation is diminished, whether because of minority, mental impairment or for some
other reason, the lawyer shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal client-lawyer
relationship with the client.

(b) When the lawyer reasonably believes that the client has diminished capacity, is at risk of
substantial physical, financial or other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act
in the client's own .interest, the lawyer may take reasonably necessary protective action,
including consulting with individuals or entities that have the ability to take action to protect
the client and, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem,
conservator or guardian.

(c) Information relating to the representation of a client with diminished capacity is
protected by Rule 1.6. When taking protective action pursuant to paragraph (b), the lawyer is
impliedly authorized under Rule 1.6(a) to reveal information about the client, but only to the
extent reasonably necessary to protect the client's interests.

(d) This Rule is not violated if the lawyer acts in good faith to comply with the Rule.

Local Contact Information

Mary Wolf
I.U. School of Law
530 W. New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202




Endmotes
1 This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.
2 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-1 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
3 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-2 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
4 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-3 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
5 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-4 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
6 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-5 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
7 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-6 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
8 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-7 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
9 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-9 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
10 IND. CODE § 31-32-3-10 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
11 IND. CODE § 31-34-10-2 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
12 IND. CODE § 31-34-10-3 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
13 IND. CODE § 31-34-10-9 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
14 IND. CODE § 31-33-15-1 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
15 IND. CODE § 31-33-15-2 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
16 IND. CODE § 31-33-15-3 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
17 IND. CODE § 31-9-2-28 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
18 IND. CODE § 31-9-2-50 (2005), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.
19 In re J.C., 735 N.E.2d 848 (Ind. Ct. App. 2000), available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word

Document.
20 IND. R. OF PROF. RESP., R. 1.14 (2005) available here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

				
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