Freelance Guardian ad Litem, Beacon Service


Job Description

Post: Freelance Guardian ad Litem, Beacon Service
Location: Nationwide
Responsible to: Head of Guardian ad Litem Services
Works with: Children subject to court proceedings, GAL team, Courts, TUSLA and families

Job Purpose

In response to appointments by Courts, to provide Guardian ad Litem representation for named child/children who are subject to Court Proceedings. To assist courts by acting as expert witness to ensure that the interests and needs of children are at the centre of the courts decisions.

Minimum Qualifications (as per CAAB* guidelines)

  • Possess a third level qualification in Social Work recognised by the National Social Work Qualifications Board (NSWQ), psychology or other third level qualification relevant to the role
  • Have a minimum of 5 years post qualification direct experience in child welfare and/or protection work
  • Have an understanding of child care and family law
  • Have knowledge and experience of the courts system
  • Possess analytical capability
  • Have well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Be skilled in communicating with children of different ages and circumstances
  • Have relevant report writing skills

*Giving a voice to children’s wishes, feelings and interests: Guidance on the Role, Criteria for Appointment, Qualifications and Training of Guardians ad Litem Appointed for Children in Proceedings under the Child Care Act, 1991. CAAB May 2009

Core Job Requirements

  • Independently ascertain and report to the Court, without interpretation, the wishes and feelings of the child in relation to the circumstances of the Court Proceedings
  • Comprehensively assess the child’s needs
  • Identify and interview all parties with a bone fide interest in the welfare of the child
  • read all relevant records
  • Furnish a full report to the Court, with interim reports if required, providing the Court with specific recommendations as to how the child’s best interest can be met
  • Make a clear recommendation as to the most appropriate Order to be made, if any
  • Maintain confidential case records
  • Attend all Court hearings as required and give oral evidence as requested
  • Use a partnership approach in working with courts, children, parents, and agencies and professionals involved in the child’s life
  • Undertake all work, in an independent professional manner in accordance with Beacon Standards, policies & procedures
  • Comply with their obligations under data protection legislation
  • Maintain accurate financial records/expenses in relation to each case, working to agreed service targets
  • Conduct work in an efficient and cost effective manner
  • Manage case administration including ability to use PC, fax and e-mail
  • Maintain appropriate liaison with the Head of Guardian ad Litem Service and administration staff
  • Regularly attend team meetings and contribute to service development
  • Share knowledge and skills within the GAL group
  • Any other duties in relation to the work that may be required by the Head of Guardian ad Litem Service


Person Specification

Knowledge and Experience

  • At least five years post graduate experience of working with children and families within child protection and child welfare systems
  • A thorough knowledge of children’s developmental needs, knowledge of Court systems, working methods and general requirements
  • Experience of working co-operatively with other agencies
  • Experience of child and family assessment
  • Experience of preparing reports for courts and other public bodies
  • Experience of giving evidence in court on behalf of children
  • Up to date knowledge of current research in all areas of Social Work, Child Care, and Child Welfare

Core Skills

The successful candidate must demonstrate proven skills in these areas:

  • Capacity to work alone
  • Capacity to manage own time effectively and efficiently
  • Ability to present clear oral and written evidence to courts
  • Ability to represent the wishes and interests of children to an expert level
  • Ability to work effectively with children and families in a short time frame
  • Ability to sensitively communicate with children of all ages and backgrounds
  • Capacity to work impartially and in partnership with professionals and family members
  • Ability to maintain professional independence
  • Ability to seek consultation/advice when required
  • Commitment to continued professional development
  • Ability to work in manner which promotes equality and respects diversity
  • Ability to communicate clearly and contribute to the sharing of information in line with the Communications Policy


Social Work –social work applicants must have a NQSW or equivalent

Psychology – psychology applicants should have a recognised post-graduate qualification or equivalent

Requirements Specific to the Post

Beacon Guardian ad Litem positions can be either staff or freelance. If Freelance, Guardians will be self-employed and working from their own premises and will work to a Freelance Contract of Service, but working to Beacon guidelines and standards.

Requirements of all Barnardos Staff and Contractors

  • Commitment to the purpose of Barnardos and to work within the values, policies and procedures of the organisation and in the context of current legislation and regulations
  • To participate in regular supervision with your supervisor
  • To actively participate in team meetings and service reviews/ evaluations and to contribute to the development of policy and practice with your area of work
  • To report any area of concern to your supervisor or the service managers in a timely manner
  • To show reasonable flexibility in relation to hours of attendance to meet the needs of the work. Work during unsocial hours may be required
  • Have a flexible approach to the work in response to organisational change, development and review of best practice
  • Participate in and engage with a practice review meetings
  • Identify training opportunities with your supervisor or manager and participate in training opportunities appropriate to the role
  • To be vigilant to any Health, Safety and Welfare risks in the workplace and bring any concerns to the attention of a Guardian ad Litem service manager or Health & Safety Officer
  • To undertake your work in a manner that is friendly, flexible and informal

Note: This Job Description will be reviewed and updated in line with the needs of the work.

Application Procedure

Applicants may upload their CV below as well as a detailed submission regarding your suitability for the post (maximum 1,200 words). This should relate your qualifications, experience and knowledge base to the work of the Guardian ad Litem as set out in the Job Description. No application form is necessary for this role.