Part I of this Comment surveys the various theories of the role of the guardian ad litem in child abuse proceedings. Part II turns to the need for independent representation for abused children and the appropriate role of the guardian ad litem. It demonstrates that neither the state nor the parents can adequately protect the interests of abused children and concludes that a guardian ad litem plays an important role for the children. Part III outlines the Washington state child abuse legislation and discusses the use of guardians ad litem in Washington child abuse proceedings. This legislation provides the framework for the King County Court Appointed Special Advocate Program in Seattle, Washington, which is outlined in Part IV. Based on the success of that program, Part V concludes that volunteer guardians ad litem trained in the legal and social aspects of child abuse, with lawyer consultation and services as needed, can effectively and economically advocate the best interests of abused children. Part VI suggests that legislatures adopt standards that will make guardians ad litem more effective.
The Non-Lawyer Guardian Ad Litem in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings: The King County, Washington, Experience,
58 Wash. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/wlr/vol58/iss4/4