Dependency & Neglect (serving as Guardian ad Litem)

Gabriela Sandoval serves as Guardian ad Litem (GAL) in D&N cases, representing the child’s best interests before the Denver Juvenile Court. In Colorado, the court appoints a GAL on all Dependency & Neglect cases. In these cases, the Department of Human Services files a complaint against parents or a non-parent caretaker of a child based upon neglect or abuse. D&N cases are civil in nature. Some responsibilities of the GAL include:  conducting an independent investigation and representing the legal and “best interests” of the child; determining with whom the child will live and what, if any protection orders should be issued by the court; providing input on treatment plans for parents and child; personally visiting with the child and; filing legal documents on behalf of the child.

In Colorado, a child is neglected or dependent if: A parent or legal custodian has abandoned the child or has mistreated or abused the child or allowed the child to be mistreated or abused without taking lawful means to stop the abuse or mistreatment from happening again; The child lacks proper parental care; The child’s environment is harmful; The parent or legal custodian fails or refuses to provide necessary or proper care, education, medical care, or other necessary care; The child is homeless or without proper care; The child is a run away or otherwise beyond the control of his or her parent or legal custodian; The child tests positive at birth for certain controlled substances; The parent or legal custodian has subjected another child to habitual abuse and that parent or legal custodian has been the respondent in another proceeding where that child was found to be dependent or neglected based on allegations of sexual or physical abuse or the court determined the parent or legal custodian’s abuse or neglect caused the death of another child and the pattern and type of habitual abuse pose a current threat to the child. COLO. REV. STAT. § 19-3-102 (2007). A guardian ad litem is appointed to represent the child’s best interests in all dependency and neglect cases.

~ The above has been taken, in part, from the Colorado Children’s Code.

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