Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
Ohio law requires that all child victims of abuse and neglect be appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). Guardian ad Litem is a Latin term meaning guardian at law; they are appointed to advocate in court for the child's best interest in cases of abuse and neglect. In Franklin County, the courts appoint a private attorney or a CASA, who is trained as a volunteer GAL. CASA volunteers complete an extensive screening and training process and are officially sworn-in as officers of the court. CASA of Franklin County (in existence since 1991) exists to serve the most at-risk and severe cases of child abuse and neglect in the community. These children need individualized attention and need to be seen on a regularly scheduled basis
CASA volunteers get to know the child well enough to make fact-based recommendations to the Juvenile Court about custody, placement, visitation, and services. GALs gather information on their cases by making at least monthly visits with the child, speaking with professionals involved with the child, attending meetings regarding the child's welfare, and appearing in court as the child's advocate.
CASA provides a critical local need and is the ONLY community organization providing such services in Franklin County.