The Governor’s FY 11 Budget comes out 1/28/10.
Line item 0330-0300 is the line item that pays for Guardian Ad Litems for kids removed from parent’s custody in either Juvenile Court or Probate and Family Court.
In our state, unlike even Georgia or Michigan [or many others] child welfare cases are all done under a cloak of darkness due to blanket impoundment whether helpful in a specific case or not. Without guardian ad litems including those for education, kids can really go without having their medications monitored, their educations protected, or their best interests watched over. Child’s counsel does not have the authority to sign an IEP, or monitor medication – just to bring matters to court.
I have a case right now where a judge refused to appoint an Educational Surrogate Parent [what would have been a Guardian Ad Litem for Education before Chief Justice for Administration and Management Mulligan – aka “the CJAM” – eliminated these GALs under his G.L.c.211B Sec.9 powers to save money at kids expense] because she said she could not due to the CJAM’s edict…so my client’s IEP cannot be signed. Niether of his parent’s have custody and there is no Guardian ad Litem for his education because such GAL’s no longer exist. VERY frustrating. And not good for this 12 year old, either.
Anyway, “NO MORE CUTS” and reversing bad cuts also means putting language in House One in line item 0330-0300 that funding for Guardian Ad Litems for kids in the custody of DCF spspecifically must be used for Guardian Ad Litems, including and re-authorizing Guardian Ad Litems for Education to be specifically included in this otherwise unallocated CJAM slush fund, to be at least the same amount spent on such GALs in 2011 as was spent in 2007.
For me that is PART of what “no more cuts to human services” means.
These kids cannot advocate for themselves. GALs don’t work for NGOs. All such GALs are independent contractors working at a loss, or break even basis at best. Many are clinicians, educators, and some are attorneys. NO lobbyist speaks for this critical role. NONE.