Mimi Morton

‘These children haven’t asked for me to come into their lives. But here I am.’

A court-appointed volunteer guardian ad litem describes a crash course in the judicial system and family law in a dynamic court system under the pressure of ever-changing social and economic situations

Three years ago, while I was sunk in post-election demoralization, my friend, lawyer Diane Shamas, described being a guardian ad litem, or GAL.

Listening, I realized that this challenging, essential work might actually give me heart.

Here were children in state custody because their parents were unable to provide safe homes, sometimes owing to opiate and other addictions, to homelessness, to poverty, to mental illness or domestic violence

A guardian ad litem is sometimes known as a CASA, a court-appointed special advocate for children. For a case to move forward, a GAL must be present in the courtroom to consider and weigh in on a child's best interests. In Vermont, they work pro bono, with gas mileage covered by the state.

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