RULE 2. Guardians Ad Litem
(1) Title 18-A and 19-A Proceedings. In Title 18-A and Title 19-A proceedings a judge may appoint, without any findings, any person listed on the Roster. In addition, when a suitable guardian ad litem included on the Roster is not available for appointment, a court may, for good cause shown and after consultation with the parties, appoint an attorney admitted to practice in this State who, after consideration by the court of all of the circumstances of the particular case, in the opinion of the appointing court has the necessary skills and experience to serve as a guardian ad litem. For the purposes of this paragraph, good cause may include the appointment of a guardian ad litem on a pro bono basis.
(2) Child Protection Proceedings. Guardians ad litem appointed in child protection proceedings pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4005 shall be either a CASA or an attorney listed on the Roster. If neither a CASA nor a rostered attorney is available, the court may appoint another attorney.
(b) Application, Selection, and Placement of Guardians ad Litem on Roster.
(A) Form. Roster applications shall be submitted on the official form that can be obtained from the Family Division of the Maine District Court. The Chief Judge may accept an application filed on a substitute form if the Chief Judge determines that substantially all of the information required by the official form has been furnished. The Chief Judge may reject an application that is incomplete or does not meet applicable criteria, or the Chief Judge may require an applicant to provide additional information or explanation.
(B) Application Periods. The Chief Judge will accept applications and will review them periodically.
(2) Selection, Qualifications. The Chief Judge shall screen applications utilizing the criteria set forth in this section.
(3) Criteria for Initial Listing on the Roster. To become listed on the Roster an applicant must demonstrate
(A) Credentials. The applicant must
(i) Possess a current valid license to practice law in the State of Maine;
(ii) Possess a current valid license to practice as an LCSW, LPC, LCPC, LMSW, LMFT, LPaC, psychologist or psychiatrist in the State of Maine; or
(iii) Possess a Certification of Qualification by the Director of the CASA program, provided that a CASA Certification qualified individual may be appointed a guardian ad litem only pursuant to 22 M.R.S. § 4005; or
(iv) have been on the GAL roster on the effective date of the implementation of these Rules (September 2015), have completed the core training required by the Rules, and if the applicant holds professional licenses, be in good standing
(B) Core Training. Attendance at a guardian ad litem training with a curriculum of at least 18 hours for Title 18-A and/or 19-A rostering and 23 hours for Title 22 rostering that has been approved by the Chief Judge satisfies this requirement. The curriculum must include specified learning outcomes and activities designed to meet these outcomes and must cover Titles 18-A, 19-A, and 22; dynamics of domestic abuse and its effect on children; dynamics of separation and divorce and its effect on children; child development; timing and impact of court-related events from a child’s perspective; the effects of abuse, neglect and trauma on children; substance abuse; mental health; family finance and the impact of separation and divorce; legal issues and processes; professionalism as a guardian ad litem; the duties and obligations of the guardian ad litem as an agent of the court; and interviewing techniques.
For a guardian ad litem acting under the auspices of the CASA program, successful completion of CASA training satisfies this requirement. CASA guardians ad litem who accept appointment in non-CASA cases must complete the core training requirements.
(C) Good Character. The applicant must demonstrate to the Chief Judge that he or she is presently of good character and fitness to serve as a guardian ad litem.
(4) Placement on Roster. The Chief Judge shall notify applicants of the results of the application screening process. Applicants who pass application screening are conditionally accepted, and shall complete a release authorizing the Administrative Office of the Courts to conduct a background check consisting of: (A) a criminal history information check, (B) a child protective services information check, and (C) a certificate of good standing from the licensing authority for the Applicant’s profession, which must include disclosure of any disciplinary action taken regarding the applicant in the 10 years preceding the date of the application.
Applicants whose background check results are satisfactory to the Chief Judge will be finally accepted and placed on the Roster. Applicants whose background check results are not satisfactory to the Chief Judge shall not be finally accepted and placed on the Roster.
Applicants whose initial checks indicate a material problem may be disqualified or asked for additional information or releases. The requirements for initial rostering must be maintained in order for a guardian ad litem to remain in good standing and included on the Roster.
The decision of the Chief Judge is final and not subject to appeal.
(5) Acceptance of Court Referrals. A guardian ad litem should anticipate being asked to accept at least one Title 19-A pro bono or reduced fee referral from the Judicial Branch per calendar year, other than Title 22 cases, and should do so to the extent consistent with the guardian ad litem’s other professional, personal, and other public interest service.
(6) Guardian ad Litem Resignation or Leave of Absence. A guardian ad litem may resign from the Roster at any time. A guardian ad litem may request a leave of absence from the Roster from the Chief Judge, who may accept the request, reject it, or condition acceptance on such terms as the Chief Judge believes are in the best interests of the Judicial Branch.
Rule 2 – Reporter’s Notes:
The LSW license, which requires only a bachelor’s degree, has been removed from the list of licensures that form the predicate of a guardian application. Each of the other licenses requires at least a master’s degree.
Advisory Note –September 2016
Rule 2(b)(2)(A) is amended to add as a qualifying credential that the applicant was on the GAL roster on the effective date of the implementation of these Rules (September 2015), completed the core training required by the Rules, and is in good standing with respect to any professional licenses the applicant holds.