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Information for Children & Young People

Sometimes, when adults can’t agree on what is best for children and young people, a judge is asked to decide.

Your Guardian ad Litem is asked by the judge to meet with you, to listen to you and then to tell the judge what you think and feel, and also what you would like.

Your Guardian ad Litem will tell the judge what they think about what is happening. They will listen to other people who know you well. You might tell your Guardian ad Litem who these people are.

If you want, you can write a letter for the judge. Your Guardian ad Litem can help you to do this. They will be writing a report to tell the judge about your wishes and feelings and also about what they think is best for you. The report will be read by your parents and by your social worker as well as by the judge.

Sometimes the judge asks us to come back to court a few times before making a final decision about what should happen.  When the judge has made a final decision your Guardian ad Litem will meet with you and talk it through with you. You and your Guardian ad Litem can talk about what the decision means for your future. This may be the end of their work with you. However, sometimes the judge may want to hear how you are getting on and may ask your Guardian ad Litem to visit you again.

Things to remember

  • The most important thing for the judge to think about is what is best for you
  • The judge needs to hear your wishes and feelings
  • Your Guardian ad Litem will tell the judge what they think is best for you

Some questions you may have

How often will my Guardian ad Litem visit me?

This is different with different people. We can decide together when we meet.

Who will read the report you write?

The report will be given to the judge. A copy will be given to the solicitors for your parents and for your social worker.

What is the difference between my social worker and my Guardian ad Litem?

Your social worker is responsible for your care arrangements and for working with your family; your Guardian ad Litem is responsible for representing your views and your interests.

Can I come to court?

Your Guardian ad Litem can ask the judge if you can come to court.

My case is in court. Does this mean I am in trouble?

No, you are not in trouble. The case is in court because the judge has been asked to decide what is best for you.

How long will my Guardian ad Litem be working with me?

They will stay working with you for as long as the judge keeps them involved.

Barnardos Guardian ad Litem Service’s Privacy Notice

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