IN THE 25TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT OF MISSOURI
LOCAL COURT RULE 22.1APPOINTMENT of GUARDIAN AD LITEM
Pursuant to the purpose and intent of the Family Court of the 25th Judicial Circuit,
Judge Tracy L. Storie, Presiding Judge, hereby makes the following orders.
WHEREAS, by authorization and action of the 25th Judicial Circuit acting En Banc, hereby adopts the: Guardian Ad Litem Implementation Plan for the 25th Judicial Circuit:
In recognizing that Missouri children have the right to adequate and effective representation in child welfare cases, the 25th Judicial Circuit provides the following as a plan for implementation of the guardian ad litem standards. To develop the implementation plan, the Presiding Judge appointed a committee of attorneys nominated by the different members of the Court en banc. Said committee includes the Presiding Judge and Division II Circuit Judge as its members.
1. A model and standard form for GAL appointment, as drafted by the committee and approved by the Court en banc, shall be used in all GAL appointments in the 25th Circuit for any cases involving paternity, dissolution, custody, visitation, support or protection orders, and may be used in any appointments in the juvenile or probate courts.
2. The 25th Judicial Circuit shall disseminate the standards on its court website and keep a copy posted in the civil records department of the circuit court and/or the family court division. Each division that addresses family court division matters shall be provided with a copy of the standards for reference when needed.
3. The Presiding Judge appoints the Family Court Coordinator to act as the designee for the respective Clerks of each Circuit in the 25th Judicial Circuit for the purpose of maintaining the records and affidavits of GAL training compliance, as well as dissemination of the standards and the model standard appointment form, as stated above.
4. Any licensed attorney practicing in the 25th Judicial Circuit may serve as a Guardian ad Litem, in any case pending pursuant to Chapters 210, 211, 452, 453, 454 & 455, of Revised Missouri Statutes, upon meeting the following conditions:
a. The attorney shall complete 12 hours of GAL training, as approved by the Missouri Bar, in compliance with the standards required by Section 484.350 RSMo. (or its successor statute) and as promulgated by the Missouri Supreme Court, or the attorney shall have served as a GAL for no less than 12 hours prior to the approval of said standards by the 25th Circuit en banc June 10, 2011 per Administrative Order Number 11; and
b. The attorney shall file an affidavit of completion of said GAL training with the Family Court Coordinator on or before July 31, 2011, and shall file an updated report of subsequent training required ( 6 hours) each year thereafter by July 31. The affidavit shall include acknowledgement that the guardian ad litem has reviewed the approved GAL standards; and
c. In cases where the attorney shall be paid by the Unified Family Court fund, the attorney that serves as a Guardian Ad Litem shall also file proof of workers compensation insurance coverage on or before January 30 each year, and submit proof of coverage at any time requested by the Family Court Coordinator. If the attorney is not eligible, or otherwise not required to obtain workers compensation insurance, the Unified Family Court fund will be used to pay the insurance coverage required by the county.
5. Any newly admitted attorney to the bar, or newly practicing in the 25th Circuit, shall submit his or her certificate of completion to the Family Court Coordinator within 30 days of being appointed to serve as Guardian ad Litem or at any time he or she chooses before he or she requests or is asked to serve as a Guardian ad Litem in the 25th Judicial Circuit.
6. All attorneys who comply with the certification protocol stated above shall be eligible to serve in the capacity of GAL, upon approval by the Presiding Judge.
7. The Family Court Coordinator shall notify the Presiding Judge of the eligible attorneys who complied with the certification process by September 1 of each year. The Family Court Coordinator shall notify and remind, by electronic mail, all current GALs no less than 90 days before the certificate of compliance is due.
8. Any attorneys who submit the required certification after July 31 of any year may be added to the list after the Family Court Coordinator notifies the Presiding Judge of said attorney’s compliance.
9. The list of eligible attorneys shall be sent to each Circuit Clerk and each Judge presiding in the 25th Circuit by October 1, 2011 and annually thereafter by October 1. Any new attorneys that are added to the list shall be submitted to the Circuit Clerks and each Judge presiding in the Circuit within 30 days of the Presiding Judge approving their eligibility.
10. The Judges may appoint attorneys who are on the list of eligible attorneys or who have agreed to serve and will submit their proof of compliance to the Family Court Coordinator within 30 days of said appointment. The list shall identify the attorneys by their location of residence or practice and attorneys shall advise the Family Court Coordinator of which counties they will agree to accept appointments in if not in their county of residence when they file their certificate of compliance.
11. The Clerk of each Circuit shall send a copy of any appointment order to the Family Court Coordinator, as well as the appointed attorney, no more than 30 days after appointment is made by the Court.
12. The list of eligible attorneys shall further identify the preferences of attorneys as to whether they serve in the capacity of juvenile court matters or domestic matters, what hourly rate of pay that particular attorney is requesting and how many appointments that person will accept per year.
13. The Family Court Coordinator will track the number of appointments each attorney has no less than every 4 months (quarterly) and if the attorney has more than his/her requested number of appointments, shall report to the Presiding Judge that the attorney has exceeded his/her requested number of appointments. The Circuit Clerks and the Judges shall be notified of the names of attorneys whose caseload exceed their requested number within 30 days of the Family Court Coordinator notifying the Presiding Judge of said information.
14. Guardian ad litem training may be provided by any qualified entity approved by The Missouri Bar for providing continuing legal education training and shall be accredited by the Judicial Election Committee.
15. The local rules and processes of the 25th Judicial Circuit require the implementation plan be adopted as a local rule by the Court en banc, on or before July 1, 2011.
16. The 25th Judicial Circuit shall review this plan annually to determine the need for modifications necessary to assure the continued effectiveness of the guardian ad litem Standards.
This Order is effective June 10, 2011, by unanimous approval of the judges of the 25th
Circuit en bank and is to remain in effect until further order of this Court.
SO ORDERED this 10th day of June, 2011.
Tracy L. Storie, Presiding Judge