What is a Lawyer Guardian Ad Litem, and what do they do?

Once CPS has initiated a legal proceeding, the court will appoint a lawyer, known as a ​​Lawyer Guardian Ad Litem (LGAL), to represent the “best interests” of the allegedly abused or neglected child. The LGAL will conduct their own investigation and make a recommendation about the best plan for the child. They may speak with the child as needed since they are essentially the child’s lawyer.

If the child disagrees with what their LGAL is doing, the LGAL must notify the court that a conflict has arisen. The court will assess whether the child is old and mature enough to decide for themselves, and may appoint another attorney to represent the child.