Alpharetta, GA asked in Adoption, Child Custody, Domestic Violence and Education Law for Georgia

Q: Can a CASA become a career GAL? (Be a paid GAL instead of volunteer)

Research seems to show volunteers can be GALS as a CASA but to be paid you must be a licensed mental health professional or lawyer. Are there other pathways to being a GAL?

1 Lawyer Answer
Joshua Schiffer
Joshua Schiffer
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Roswell, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: From a webpage I often rely on:

Only those individuals who have received training administered or approved by the Office of the Child Advocate may serve as a GAL in a proceeding concerning the custody or welfare of a child. O.C.G.A. 15-11-9(b). A GAL shall receive such training as provided by or approved by the Circuit in which the GAL serves. This training should include, but not be limited to, instruction in the following subjects: domestic relations law and procedure, including the appropriate standard to be applied in the case; domestic relations courtroom procedure; role, duties, and responsibilities of a GAL; recognition and assessment of a child’s best interests; methods of performing a child custody/visitation investigation; methods of obtaining relevant information concerning a child’s best interest; the ethical obligations of a GAL, including the relationship between the GAL and counsel, the GAL and the child, and the GAL and the court; recognition of cultural and economic diversity in families and communities; basic child development, needs, and abilities at different ages; interviewing techniques; communicating with children; family dynamics and dysfunction, domestic violence and substance abuse; recognition of issues of child abuse; and available services for child welfare, family preservation, medical, mental health, educational, and special needs, including placement/evaluation/diagnostic treatment services. 24.9(2).

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