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Child Care (Guardian Ad Litem) Bill 2015

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Snippet Contents:

In addition, the Bill provides uniform judicial guidelines that a court must consider in appointing a guardian ad litem in child care proceedings. These provisions allow a court to appoint a guardian ad litem in various contexts to ensure accountability by both judges and guardians ad litem.
The proposed regulations would introduce a variety of important systemic reforms to improve fundamentally the independence and ongoing professional competence of all guardians ad litem. The proposed regulations would establish the Guardian Ad Litem Advisory Board for the first time. This body is to be an independent authority with statutory responsibility for ensuring the minimum qualifications; educating and training guardians ad litem; providing for and maintaining the professional competence of all guardians ad litem on an ongoing basis; maintaining the responsibility for the appointment and payment of individual guardians ad litem in all cases; and the appointment of independent guardians ad litem. Furthermore the board, through the independent fitness to practise committee, would have an important role in ensuring accountability of guardians ad litem by determining complaints made against any of them, whether in respect of bias, prejudice, discourtesy or otherwise, by any interested stakeholder.
I urge the Government and all parties seated here today to support this important Bill. The guardian ad litem system is in urgent need of reform and this Bill would achieve that reform. Scarce money should not be wasted on a chaotic system that is being exploited by a few, and the reforms introduced by this Bill will enable resources to be targeted where they should be, namely, into child and family services.