Guardian ad Litem
A Guardian ad Litem is a volunteer appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child involved in a court proceeding. The volunteer guardian ad litem makes independent recommendations to the court by focusing on the needs and best interests of the child. For more information about guardian ad litem, visit guardianadlitem.org.
Working with the court system
If a family is investigated by DCF for child abuse or neglect and the children are found to be in need of protection, a FamiliesFirst Network counselor is assigned to work with the parents and children. Our counselors work to help families solve problems which are causing an unsafe situation for the children. They may refer the family for services such as therapy, parenting classes, mental health and substance abuse treatment, domestic violence counseling, and medical and dental care for children. The counselor will visit with the parents and children at least once a month, usually in the home. FamiliesFirst Network is also responsible for supervising licensed shelter and foster homes, as well as relative and approved non-relative homes where dependent children are placed if removed from the parents. Our counselors must make regular written reports to the court about the children and the progress of the parents under the case plan. Counselors must meet specific educational requirements prior to being hired, and also receive training and accreditation from DCF.