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The Role of the Guardian ad Litem: A Look at Hennepin County Child Protection Cases

Interviews conducted with guardians ad litem (GALs) and juvenile justice judges in Hennepin County helped fulfill the one important goal of the WATCH CHIPS monitoring project begun in 2008 and as described in the primary report on this project, “Reasonable Efforts or Unrealistic Expectations: A Look at Hennepin County Child Protection Cases": examine the role of the guardian ad litem in CHIPS cases.

Moreover, the GAL Program in Hennepin County was eager to get feedback on how well their GALs were representing the best interests of children in CHIPS cases and wanted to capture the GALs’ reflections on the juvenile justice system as a whole. Juvenile court judges also wanted to offer recommendations on how the GAL Program might improve the approach, training, and structure of their program, and on how the juvenile courts might be as friendly and open to children and their families as possible.