Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Maine's courts as personal bill collectors for GALs
If you visit the Maine Guardian ad litem Institute web site and read their Mission Statement you will read about the noble cause that they have taken up for the child who finds him/ her self in the middle of a dispute between parents. The inference is about the compassion that they, as the Guardian ad litem trade organization, have for the child and the support that they give each other. It is in the Mission Statement that we see what Toby Hollander's Institute is all about. It is about the "compensation for those individuals serving as Guardian ad litem and providing mutual support and assistance on issues relating to the work of Guardians ad litem."
Currently, there is a case that was slated to be heard in the highest court, in which we see the kind of support that the Guardian ad litem Institute gives to the rank and file. This case is about how the Institute advocates for the use of coercion by the courts to force a parent to pay for a Guardian ad litem services. That the Institute - in support of a particular Guardian ad litem - is adding its voice in asking the court to have a parent thrown in jail, for non-payment of a GAL's bill. This seems to be one unappealing interpretation of the Institute's Mission statement. It is about Guardian ad litem compensation. In the end, it is not about what this court officer can do for the child. It is about what the court can do for this court officer - even if it means a parent is behind bars. One has to ask, how this kind of action is going to improve the welfare of a child? It makes one wonder about the bottom line; whose interest Maine's Guardians ad litem are really looking out for - theirs or the child? And where are the courts when the public needs them?
It is planned actions like these that give the Maine Guardian ad litem a black eye. When they use the courts that they work in as "officers of the court" to be their "power bill collector" it may be legal, but it looks unfeeling. It looks like they are using their professional role connections for personal benefit. We feel that the Maine Guardian ad litem Institute has some serious public relations and identity problems. Do they want to be "part of the solution, or part of the problem?" Liens, garnishing and jail for contempt don't cut it!
It you are having issues with a Guardian ad litem institute we encourage you to write to us. There are currently over 40 complaints about Guardians ad litem that we are aware of in the state of Maine. The list continues to grow. Is your Guardian ad litem part of this list? Please contact us at MeGALalert@gmail.com.