Guardian Ad Litem Authority

On January 7, 2006, the Crawford County Department of Job and Family Services removed two-month-old C.T. from the custody of his mother, Naomi Agapay.

Two days later the common pleas court awarded temporary custody of C.T. to the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS), and appointed Geoffrey Stoll as the child’s guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by a court as guardian of an infant or child to act on his behalf. For the time being, C.T. was placed in foster care.

In March 2006, the court adjudicated C.T. a dependent child. One month later the court adopted the DJFS’s case plan to address safety issues for the child. Naomi responded to that by filing a motion to modify the dispositional order and to return C.T. to her custody.

But the DJFS had other plans; it filed a motion to extend the period of temporary custody. In January 2007, following a hearing, the court denied Naomi’s motion and extended temporary custody by DJFS for an additional six months.

Later in January, Geoffrey Stoll filed a motion requesting that the court grant permanent custody of C.T. to the DJFS. Neither Naomi nor DJFS filed a memorandum opposing Stoll’s motion. Following a hearing on Stoll’s motion, the court terminated Naomi’s parental rights and committed C.T. to the permanent custody of the DJFS on June 28, 2007.

Upon review, however, the court of appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court. The court of appeals ruled that the matter should go back to the trial court on the basis that Stoll, as a guardian ad litem, lacked standing to file a motion for permanent custody.

After that ruling, the case came before the Supreme Court of Ohio for a final review.

How did the court of appeals reach the conclusion that Stoll lacked standing?

“By a seven-to-zero vote, we concluded that a guardian ad litem has authority under Ohio law to file and prosecute a motion to terminate parental rights and award permanent custody in a child welfare case.”

Full Article and Source:
Guardian ad litem has wide latitude to act for children

5 Responses to “Guardian Ad Litem Authority”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    This article clearly shows the red tape and run around that occurs behind the scenes.

    Who pays for all these hearings that go around in circles?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    A guardian ad litem should do whatever possible for the child — including helping the parents straighten up so the child can go home again.

    Everybody wants to go home. Children and elderly want that most.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Everything should be about reuniting broken families. If the parents needed to prove themselves “worthy” again, then so be it.

    But, the court’s job should be to reunite.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    And, as all of this court entertainment plays out,the victim, the child is growing up under stressful conditions.

  5. Betty Says:

    I do not trust GAL’s at all. They pretend to be advocates but when it comes down to it, the judge is their priority – not the child or the vulnerable adult.

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