The Complaint Investigation and Appeals Process will be an action item on the June 19, 2915 GAL Board agenda. See Notices page for details
The State Guardian ad Litem Board is committed to providing high quality guardian ad litem services and is willing to talk to any individual who wishes to raise concerns about the performance of an individual guardian ad litem and/or the guardian ad litem program. The GAL Program Manager is the contact for each district and the GAL Program Administrator for the state. The website will include a link to contact information including counties for managers and the program administrator.
(Contact the GAL Manager in your area)
A party who wishes to file a complaint about the performance of a guardian ad litem on their case must contact, in writing, the program manager in their district at any time during the case but no later than calendar 30 days after the order discharging the guardian ad litem. After receipt of the written complaint, the party will receive communication from the district program within two weeks acknowledging receipt of the complaint.
If the complaint is about the work of a district GAL program manager acting as a guardian ad litem on a specific case, the complaint shall be directed to the program administrator. The program administrator, or designee, shall have the responsibility for investigating the complaint against a GAL program manager who was acting as guardian ad litem on the case in question.
The formal written complaint must specify:
A. Improper performance or conduct of the guardian ad litem; or,
B. The statutory responsibility or responsibilities the guardian ad litem either failed to perform or performed improperly. Minnesota Statutes 260C.163 and 518.165 state the following statutory responsibilities of a guardian ad litem.
1. conduct an independent investigation to determine the facts relevant to the situation of the child and the family, which must include, unless specifically excluded by the court, reviewing relevant documents; meeting with and observing the child in the home setting and considering the child’s wishes, as appropriate; and interviewing parents, caregivers, and others with knowledge relevant to the case;
2. advocate for the child’s best interests by participating in appropriate aspects of the case and advocating for appropriate community services when necessary;
3. maintain the confidentiality of information related to a case, with the exception of sharing information as permitted by law to promote cooperative solutions that are in the best interests of the child;
4. monitor the child’s best interests throughout the judicial proceeding; and
5. present written reports on the child’s best interests that include conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which they are based.
Formal complaints that raise issues related to the statutory responsibilities that have already been addressed by the court will not be investigated unless the program finds good cause to proceed with an investigation. The removal or suspension of a guardian ad litem is governed by Rule 904.02 of the Minnesota Rules of Guardian ad Litem Practice. Subdivision 1 of the Rules provides that a guardian ad litem appointed to serve in a particular case may be removed or suspended from the case only by order of the presiding judge. Further, investigations by the GAL Program cannot change a court order.
Rule 904 of the Rules of Guardian ad Litem Procedure provides that the complaints and complaint investigation reports shall not be received as evidence or used in any proceeding unless offered into evidence by the guardian ad litem or authorized by written order of the court following an in camera review by the court.
If a complainant wishes to appeal the final determination made by the District GAL Program Manager, the complainant must submit their appeal, in writing, to the GAL Program Administrator within thirty (30) days of the date of the findings received from the District GAL Program Manager. The GAL Program Administrator shall determine whether any further action is warranted on the appeal and shall so notify the complainant, Guardian ad Litem and District GAL Program Manager. The GAL Program Administrator has the final say as to whether any further action will be taken on the complaint or the appeal.
Any complaint received by a GAL Board member will be sent to the GAL Program Administrator for handling as outlined in the complaint procedures.