Thursday, November 22, 2012

Almost 40 years with no Oversight for Guardians ad litem

In 2006 OPEGA ( Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability ) produced a report highlighting some of the problems with the Guardian ad litem program in Maine. What OPEGA highlighted back in 2006 for Maine are issues that sadly can be seen in many states across the country.

One of the audit findings by OPEGA was that there is a lack of compliance, performance controls and evaluation systems. The Judicial Branch has not been competent when it comes to oversight or performance monitoring in the 30+ years prior to the report.  Six years later we find the Judicial Branch still without any quality controls in place to monitor and evaluate Guardians ad litem. There is no mechanism to identify GALs that are not complying with requirements or who are not involved in the lives of the child(ren). OPEGA also recommended the establishment of an independent oversight board that would ask for feedback on GAL performance. Being able to give feedback and having a place where this feedback, good or bad, is available for consumers would help in the matter of oversight and management. An Angie’s list of sorts would weed out under performing GALs or limit their business. Those that perform to standards would be rewarded for their ethics and behavior.

It was 30+ years before OPEGA investigated and reported on this issue. Six years later the situation has not changed except that there has been 6 more years of damage to Maine's families and children. How much longer will Maine's children have to wait for change to come? If we wait for the Judicial Branch to bring about change it may be another 40 years. Can we wait that long?

If you want to read a summarized copy of the 2006 OPEGA report click here.

A copy of the report done in 2012 – the Power of the Powerless which covers many of the same issues can be found here.

If you are or know someone who has had issues with a Guardian ad litem please contact us for support at We can also be found on Facebook.


  1. This is just an example of the problems that can be found in many states. GALs are able to do pretty much what they want without any repercussions. Then the courts reward them for behavior that is not becoming for their role.

  2. Where does the interest lie in the Judicial branch - is it with the people? Or is it with special interest? It would appear that it is with the special interest groups. That breeds corruption. I wonder what other areas of "Justice" is like this.

  3. In my case there was no reason for a GAL. My ex-husband wanted one and paid for the GAL because I could not afford the cost. I have no history of violence, yet I was forced to take anger management. I have no history of drug or alcohol abuse yet the courts forced me to take addiction counseling. There were no issues between me and my children before my ex started the divorce. Yet when the GAL started her work there were issues to be found.

    My ex has a record of abuse. He has a file. He has used our kids as a weapon against me. My daughter wants nothing to do with me because she feels like I have abandoned her. I didn't I just don't have the money or resources to fight. He has won. He has everything including our children. There is no reason for him to keep attacking him. I pose no threat anymore. Yet the GAL continues to make recommendations that clearly favor my ex.

    The divorce before the GAL was what one would expect from a divorce. Name calling and each of us slinging mud at the other. I am sure the Judge had heard it all before. I had hopped for more during those early days of custody battles but expected that we would share. As a Mom I have lost and am loosing my child.

    What is the purpose of a GAL? Have they ever helped in a divorce?