2018 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 11 - Juvenile Code
Article 3 - Dependency Proceedings
Part 1 - General Provisions
§ 15-11-104. Appointment and removal of guardian ad litem; use of a CASA
(a) The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem for an alleged dependent child.
(b) An attorney for an alleged dependent child may serve as such child's guardian ad litem unless or until there is conflict of interest between the attorney's duty to such child as such child's attorney and the attorney's considered opinion of such child's best interests as guardian ad litem.
(c) A party to the proceeding, the employee or representative of a party to the proceeding, or any other individual with a conflict of interest shall not be appointed as guardian ad litem.
(d) A court shall appoint a CASA to act as guardian ad litem whenever possible, and a CASA may be appointed in addition to an attorney who is serving as a guardian ad litem.
(e) A lay guardian shall not engage in activities which could reasonably be construed as the practice of law.
(f) Before the appointment as a guardian ad litem, such person shall have received training appropriate to the role as guardian ad litem which is administered or approved by the Office of the Child Advocate for the Protection of Children. For attorneys, preappointment guardian ad litem training shall be satisfied within the attorney's existing continuing legal education obligations and shall not require the attorney to complete additional training hours in addition to the hours required by the State Bar of Georgia.
(g) Any volunteer guardian ad litem authorized and acting in good faith, in the absence of fraud or malice and in accordance with the duties required by this Code section, shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that might otherwise be incurred or imposed as a result of taking or failing to take any action pursuant to this Code section.
(h) The court may remove a guardian ad litem from a case upon finding that the guardian ad litem acted in a manner contrary to a child's best interests, has not appropriately participated in the case, or if the court otherwise deems continued service as inappropriate or unnecessary.
(i) A guardian ad litem shall not engage in ex parte contact with the court except as otherwise provided by law.
(j) The court, a child, or any other party may compel a guardian ad litem for a child to attend a trial or hearing relating to such child and to testify, if appropriate, as to the proper disposition of a proceeding.
(k) The court shall ensure that parties have the ability to challenge recommendations made by the guardian ad litem or the factual basis for the recommendations in accordance with the rules of evidence applicable to the specific proceeding.
(l) A guardian ad litem's report shall not be admissible into evidence prior to the disposition hearing except in accordance with the rules of evidence applicable to the specific proceeding.
(m) A guardian ad litem who is not also serving as attorney for a child may be called as a witness for the purpose of cross-examination regarding the guardian ad litem's report even if the guardian ad litem is not identified as a witness by a party.