Walking into the court room, you would find many of the people responsible for a child’s care while they are wards of the state. First, you would meet the attorney general. They are the legal representation on behalf of the state of Arizona and are responsible for all the legal filings as well as requesting any case plan changes. To their side is the case manager. Their role is to support the needs of the child in care as well as assist with providing services and resources to the birth family that line up with the case plan (a plan designed to help rectify the safety concern that first brought the child into care). More of an unknown to most is the GAL (Guardian Ad Litem). The GAL is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the child. Depending on the age of the child in care, there may be an attorney assigned that fights for their client, the child, and what they want. There is also an attorney assigned to the birth mom and another assigned to the birth dad. All of these parties come together, with the birth parents, and meet before the judge to talk about the case and what progress has been made along with what the expectations are prior to the next court hearing.
In the gallery, you may find the foster parents, a CASA (court appointed special advocate), licensing workers, and even the child in care. We highly recommend to all foster families that you attend court because this is the best way to stay informed about the case so you know how to advocate for the child in your care as well as their birth family.
Thank you for your great question! If you have questions, send them to #youaskedfa or Kim@fosteraz.com