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Rule 4-906. Guardian ad litem program.

Intent:

To establish the responsibilities of the Guardian ad LitemOversight Committee established in Rule 1-205.

To establish the policy and procedures for the management of theguardian ad litem program.

To establish responsibility for management of the program.

To establish the policy and procedures for the selection ofguardians ad litem.

To establish the policy and procedures for payment for guardian adlitem services.

To establish the policy and procedures for complaints regardingguardians ad litem and volunteers.

Applicability:

This rule shall apply to the management of the guardian ad litemprogram.

This rule does not affect the authority of the Utah State Bar todiscipline a guardian ad litem.

Statement of the Rule:

(1) Guardian ad Litem Oversight Committee. The Committee shall:

(1)(A) develop and monitor policies ofthe Office of Guardian ad Litem to:

(1)(A)(i) ensure the independent andprofessional representation of a child-client and the child?s best interest;and

(1)(A)(ii) ensure compliance with federaland state statutes, rules and case law;

(1)(B) recommend rules of administrationand procedure to the Judicial Council and Supreme Court;

(1)(C) select the Director of the Officeof Guardian ad Litem in consultation with the State Court Administrator;

(1)(D) develop a performance plan for theDirector;

(1)(E) monitor the Office?s caseload andrecommend to the Judicial Council adequate staffing of guardians ad litem andstaff;

(1)(F) develop standards and proceduresfor hearing and deciding complaints and appeals of complaints; and

(1)(G) hear and decide complaints andappeals of complaints as provided in this rule.

(2) Qualifications of the director. The Director shall have thequalifications provided by the Utah Code.

(3) Responsibilities of the director. In addition toresponsibilities under the Utah Code, the Director shall have the followingresponsibilities.

(3)(A) Manage the Office of Guardian ad Litem to ensure thatminors who have been appointed a guardian ad litem by the court receivequalified guardian ad litem services.

(3)(B) Develop the budget appropriation request to the legislaturefor the guardian ad litem program.

(3)(C) Coordinate the appointments of guardiansad litem among different levels of courts.

(3)(D) Monitor the services of the guardiansad litem, staff and volunteers by regularly consulting with users and observersof guardian ad litem services, including judges, court executives and clerks,and by requiring the submission of appropriate written reports from theguardians ad litem.

(3)(E) Determine whether the guardian ad litem caseload inJudicial Districts 1, 5, 6, 7, and 8 is best managed by full or part timeemployment or by contract.

(3)(F) Select guardians ad litem andstaff for employment as provided in this rule. Select volunteers. Coordinateappointment of conflict counsel.

(3)(G) Supervise, evaluate, and discipline guardiansad litem and staff employed by the courts and volunteers. Supervise andevaluate the quality of service provided by guardiansad litem under contract with the court.

(3)(H) Monitor and report to the Committee guardian ad litem,staff and volunteer compliance with federal and state statutes, rules and caselaw.

(3)(I) Prepare and submit to the Committee in August an annualreport regarding the development, policy, and management of the guardian adlitem program and the training and evaluation of guardians ad litem, staff andvolunteers. The Committee may amend the report prior to release to theLegislative Interim Human Services Committee.

(4) Qualification and responsibilities of guardian ad litem. Aguardian ad litem shall be admitted to the practice of law in Utah and shalldemonstrate experience and interest in the applicable law and procedures. Theguardian ad litem shall have the responsibilities established by the Utah Code.

(5) Selection of guardian ad litem for employment.

(5)(A) A guardian ad litem employed by the Administrative Officeof the Courts is an at-will employee subject to dismissal by the Director withor without cause.

(5)(B) A guardian ad litem employed by the Administrative Officeof the Courts shall be selected by the Director. Prior to the Director making aselection, a panel shall interview applicants and make hiring recommendationsto the Director. The interview panel shall consist of the Director (orDirector?s designee) and two or more of the following persons:

(5)(B)(i) the managing attorney of thelocal guardian ad litem office;

(5)(B)(ii) the trial court executive ofthe district court or juvenile court;

(5)(B)(iii) a member of the Committee;

(5)(B)(iv) a member of the Utah State BarAssociation selected by the Director; or

(5)(B)(v) a member selected by theDirector.

(6) Conflicts of interest and disqualification of guardian ad litem.

(6)(A) In cases where a guardian ad litem has a conflict ofinterest, the guardian ad litem shall declare the conflict and request that thecourt appoint a conflict guardian ad litem in the matter. Any party whoperceives a conflict of interest may file a motion with the court setting forththe nature of the conflict and a request that the guardian ad litem bedisqualified from further service in that case. Upon a finding that a conflictof interest exists, the court shall relieve the guardian ad litem from furtherduties in that case and appoint a conflict guardian ad litem.

(6)(B) The Administrative Office of the Courts may contract withattorneys to provide conflict guardian ad litem services.

(6)(C) If the conflict guardian ad litem is arranged on acase-by-case basis, the Court shall use the order form approved by the Council.The Order shall include a list of the duties of a guardian ad litem. The courtshall distribute the Order as follows: original to the case file and one copyeach to: the appointed conflict guardian ad litem, the guardian ad litem, allparties of record, the parents, guardians or custodians of the child(ren), the court executive and the Director.

(6)(D) A conflict guardian ad litem?s compensationshall not exceed $50 per hour or $1000 per case in any twelve month period,whichever is less. Under extraordinary circumstances, the Director may extendthe payment limit upon request from the conflict guardian ad litem. The requestshall include justification showing that the case required work of much greatercomplexity than, or time far in excess of, that required in most guardian adlitem assignments. Incidental expenses incurred in the case shall be includedwithin the limit. If a case is appealed, the limit shall be extended by an additional$400.

(7) Staff and Volunteers.

(7)(A) The Director shall develop a strong volunteer component tothe guardian ad litem program and provide support for volunteer solicitation,screening and training. Staff and volunteers shall have the responsibilitiesestablished by the Utah Code.

(7)(B) Training for staff and volunteers shall be conducted underthe supervision of the attorney guardian ad litem with administrative supportprovided by the Director. Staff and volunteers shall receive training in theareas of child abuse, child psychology, juvenile and district court proceduresand local child welfare agency procedures. Staff and volunteers shall betrained in the guidelines established by the National Court Appointed SpecialAdvocate Association.

(8) Private guardians ad litem.

(8)(A) The Director shall maintain a list of private attorneyguardians ad litem qualified for appointment.

(8)(B) To be included on the list of eligible private attorney guardians ad litem, an applicant shall apply for eligibleprivate attorney guardian status to the Utah Office of Guardian ad Litem and:

(8)(B)(i) show membership in goodstanding in the Utah State Bar;

(8)(B)(ii) providea BCI criminal history report;

(8)(B)(iii) providea DCFS Child Abuse Data Base report (and like information from anystate in which the applicant has resided as an adult);

(8)(B)(iv) provide a certificate ofcompletion for any initial or additional necessary training requirementsestablished by the Director;

(8)(B)(v) agree to perform in a competent,professional, proficient, ethical, and appropriate manner and to meet anyminimum qualifications as determined by the Director; and

(8)(B)(vi) agree to be evaluated at thediscretion of the Director for competent, professional, proficient, ethical,appropriate conduct, and/or performance, and minimum qualifications.

(8)(C) Upon the appointment by the court of a private guardian adlitem, the court shall:

(8)(C)(i) use the following language inits order: "The Court appoints a private attorney guardian ad litem to beassigned by the Office of Guardian ad Litem, to represent the best interests ofthe minor child(ren) in this matter.";

(8)(C)(ii) designate in the order whetherthe private attorney guardian ad litem shall:

(8)(C)(ii)(a) be paid the set fee, asestablished by paragraph (8)(F), and an initial retainer;

(8)(C)(ii)(b) not be paid and serve probono; or

(8)(C)(ii)(c) be paid at a rate less thanthe set fee in paragraph (8)(F); and

(8)(C)(iii) send the order to theDirector c/o the Private Attorney Guardian ad Litem Program.

(8)(D) Upon receipt of the court?s order appointing a privateguardian ad litem, the Director shall contact and assign the case to aneligible attorney, if available.

(8)(E) Upon accepting the court?s appointment, the assignedattorney shall file a notice of appearance with the court within five businessdays of acceptance, and shall thereafter represent the best interests of theminor(s) until released by the court.

(8)(F) The hourly fee to be paid by the parties and to be orderedand apportioned by the court against the parties shall be $150.00 per hour orat a higher rate as determined reasonable by the court. The retainer amountshall be $1000 or a different amount determined reasonable by the court. Theretainer amount shall be apportioned by the court among the parties and paid bythe parties.

(8)(G) Each year, private attorneysguardian ad litem shall completethree hours of continuing legal education credits that are relevant to the roleand duties of a private attorney guardian ad litem. To meet this requirement,the Office of Guardian ad Litem shall provide training opportunities that areaccredited by the Utah State Bar Board of Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.In order to provide access to all private attorney guardians ad litem, theOffice of Guardian ad Litem shall provide multiple trainings at locationsthroughout the State or online.

A private attorney guardian ad litem whofails to complete the required number of hours shall be notified that unlessall requirements are completed and reported within 30 days, the Director mayremove the private attorney guardian ad litem from the list of eligible privateattorney guardians ad litem.?

(9) Complaints and appeals.

(9)(A)(i) Any person may file with the chair of the Committee acomplaint regarding the Director, or regarding an administrative policy orprocedure, not including complaints regarding a particular guardian ad litem,private guardian ad litem, or volunteer. If deemed necessary, the Committee mayenter a recommendation to the Judicial Council, which may include discipline ofthe Director.

(9)(A)(ii) If a complaint regarding the Director or anadministrative policy or procedure is received in the Director?s office, theDirector shall forward the complaint to the chair of the Committee within areasonable time, but not more than 14 days after receipt.

(9)(B) Any person may file with the Director a complaint regardinga guardian ad litem employed by the Office of Guardian ad Litem, privateattorney guardian ad litem, or volunteer, as definedby UCA 78A-6-902(4)(a). The decision of the Director regarding thecomplaint is final and not subject to appeal.

(9)(C) If a guardian ad litem and a volunteer disagree on themajor decisions involved in representation of the client, either may notify theDirector that the dispute cannot be resolved. The decision of the Directorregarding the dispute is final and not subject to appeal.

(9)(D) The failure of the Director to satisfactorily resolve acomplaint against a guardian ad litem, private attorney guardian ad litem orvolunteer is not grounds for a complaint against the Director.

(9)(E) The Director may remove with or without a complaint aprivate attorney guardian ad litem from the list of eligible private guardians ad litem for failure to perform or conductthemselves in a competent, professional, proficient, ethical and/or appropriatemanner or for failure to meet minimum qualifications, including the annualcontinuing legal education requirement. Within a reasonable time after theremoval, and in the event the private attorney guardian ad litem has not yetbeen released by the court in a pending case, the Director shall providewritten notice to such court of the Director?s action, and the court may, inits discretion, determine whether the private attorney guardian ad litem shouldbe released from the case.

(9)(F)(i) A complaint shall be in writing, stating the name andcontact information of the complainant, the name of the child or childreninvolved, the nature of the complaint and the facts upon which the complaint isbased.

(9)(F)(ii) In resolving a complaint, the Director or the Committeeshall conduct such investigation as the Director or the Committee determines tobe reasonable. The Director or the Committee may meet separately or togetherwith the complainant and the person against whom the complaint is filed.

(9)(F)(iii) The decision of the Director may include discipline ofthe person against whom the complaint is filed. If the complaint is against aprivate guardian ad litem, the decision may include removal of the privateguardian ad litem from the list of private guardiansad litem and the conditions for reinstatement.

(9)(G) This subsection does not apply to conflict guardians ad litem.