NOTE: CRAFTING AN ADVOCATE FOR A CHILD: IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION REDEFINING THE ROLE OF THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN MICHIGAN CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT CASES Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1997 University of Michigan Law School
University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

NOTE: CRAFTING AN ADVOCATE FOR A CHILD: IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION REDEFINING THE ROLE OF THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM IN MICHIGAN CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT CASES

Fall, 1997

31 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 237

Author

Albert E. Hartmann *

Excerpt



Michigan's current statutory system leaves the role of the child's attorney unclear. In this Note, Hartmann advocates the adoption of a legislative proposal that will redefine the role of the child's attorney. The proposal specifies that the child's primary legal representative should be a guardian ad litem who will represent the best interests of the child. Hartmann begins by describing the current system and then analyzes how the proposal will modify the role of the child's attorney. Hartmann argues that the proposed changes would be highly beneficial and identifies specific points of improvement. Hartmann concludes by suggesting several reforms to improve the child welfare system in Michigan.
 
 
 
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than
you can understand. 1
 




Introduction
 
The role of the child's attorney in child protection proceedings 2 in Michigan is unclear under the current statutory scheme. The law instructs the attorney to represent both the child 3 and her 4 best interests. 5 These contradicting mandates create confusion 6 and give little guidance to attorneys faced with the difficult ethical dilemmas that arise in child protection cases. The Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct also do not provide proper guidance. 7 This confusion requires an attorney to choose between the role of the traditional attorney and the role of the guardian ad litem (GAL). 8

A legislative proposal 9 (the proposal) currently before the Lieutenant Governor of Michigan clarifies ...
 
 
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