Many news sources report that the Vermont Department for Children and Families, or DCF, is having to take responsibility for rapidly increasing numbers of children.
Last month in Windham County alone, one hundred and seventy eight children in state custody were placed with family members, in foster families, or in residential facilities. In addition, sixty two were living with their parents under Conditional Custody Orders – with DCF responsible for ensuring that those parents are complying with the court’s expectations.
By law, all these children must have not only an attorney, but a Guardian Ad Litem to advocate for the child’s best interest. The guardians gather information to bring to court, and help the child understand his or her situation, since attorneys are often much too busy with legal details. Guardians attend all court proceedings concerning the children and meet with them at least once a month – but that’s just the beginning.