The need for reform in family court and in the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is urgent. Fit, loving parents are losing custody of their children due to systemic failures and abuses of power, and children are being placed in the custody of dangerous or unfit parent. The impact is severe, devastating families and often leaving lifelong scars on children.
The stories of these families are heartbreaking…. here are some stories we have heard:
“Since my abusive ex won custody, I have not been allowed to see my child.”
“I was forced to send my child to visit the abuser, they screamed and cried and did not want to leave.”
“I was not even allowed to give my child an Easter basket.”
“I was punished for reporting concerns of abuse, and lost custody (other parents are placed into supervised visitation while the abusive parent retains primary custody).”
“The Guardian ad Litem ignored my ex’s history (criminal record, serious mental health diagnosis, drug or alcohol use, past violence or abuse, etc) when recommending sole custody and then labeled me as mentally ill or unfit.”
“I filed a complaint against the Guardian with the Program Manager and she did not even get back to me.”
We have also commonly heard this complaint as well, “I filed a complaint against the Guardian with the Program Manager and nothing happened. I do not even know what happened to my complaint, or if it was investigated.”
A Call to Action is working hard to help reform the Guardian ad Litem program to better serve the needs of families and children, and advocating for those who need protection from domestic violence or abuse.
On Thursday, April 16, 2015, A Call to Action participated in the Minnesota Legislative hearings. A member of our group also spoke.
On Friday, April 17, 2014, A Call to Action presented during the public comments at the State Guardian ad Litem Board Meeting, held in Ramsey.
A Call to Action has attended several of the Board Meetings to offer testimony of parents hurt by program failures and to urge needed change. The Guardian ad Litem Board has responded, and is currently revising its complaint procedure for those seeking to file a complaint against a Guardian.
This is an important first step but there is more work to do. The more people involved, the more impact we can make. We invite you to join and be part of the change to reform the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem program.
Please visit the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem website to read the proposed changes and learn how you can submit feedback: http://mn.gov/guardian-ad-litem/Notices/
Then contact A Call to Action for information on how to join us in submitting feedback and working towards meaningful reform: victimsofmanning @ hotmail.com
Visit our page for information and updates: https://acalltoactionblog.wordpress.com/
Also visit Minnesota Guardian Watch for proposed reform and news: http://www.mnguardianwatch.org/