Skip to main content

Library: Policy

340:75-6-48.1. Appointment and role of the child's attorney, guardian ad litem, and court-appointed special advocate

Revised 7-1-13

(a) Appointment of child's attorney.  Per Section 1-4-306 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes (10A O.S. § 1-4-306), the court may appoint an attorney to represent the child when an emergency custody hearing is held but must appoint an attorney to represent the child when a petition is filed alleging the child to be deprived.

  • (1) The child's attorney is independent of and not selected by the district attorney, the child's parent, legal guardian, or custodian.  The parent, legal guardian, or custodian may not select the child's attorney.

  • (2) If financially capable, the parent, legal guardian, or custodian reimburses the court fund for the services of the child's court-appointed attorney.

(b) Role and responsibilities of the child's attorney.  Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-306, the child's attorney:

  • (1) represents the child and any of the child's expressed interests;

  • (2) arranges to meet with the child as soon as possible after receiving notification of the appointment.

  • (3) except for good cause, meets with the child prior to any court proceedings;

  • (4) speaks with the child by telephone if a personal visit is not possible due to exigent circumstances; and

  • (5) contacts the custodian or caretaker of the child prior to the hearing when a meaningful attorney-client relationship between the child and attorney is not possible due to the child's age or disability.

(c) Child attorney's access to Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) records.  The child's attorney is entitled to access juvenile court and OKDHS records without a court order per 10A O.S. 1-6-103.

(d) Child's attorney may object to court's ruling to release child from state custody.  Per 10A O.S. § 1-4-804, at any hearing, including hearings where a child is to be released from state custody, the child's attorney or district attorney may give verbal notice of an objection to the court order and intention to seek review of that order based on the grounds that the order of the court releasing the child from state custody creates a serious risk of danger to the health or safety of the child.  Upon receiving notice, the court issuing the custody order in question, stays the custody order pending the filing of an application and completion of review.  Refer to OAC 340:75-1-16 and OAC 340:75-1-16 Instructions to Staff for additional information and guidance.

(e) Appointment and role of the guardian ad litem or court-appointed special advocate.  For the purposes of the Oklahoma Children's Code the court-appointed special advocate and the guardian ad litem have the same function, power, duties, and responsibilities except as otherwise provided by law.  After a deprived petition is filed, the court appoints a guardian ad litem upon the request of the child, child's attorney, OKDHS, another party to the action, or upon the court's own motion.

  • (1) The guardian ad litem is not a district attorney, an employee of the office of the district attorney, the child's attorney, an employee of the court, an employee of a juvenile bureau, or an employee of any public agency having duties or responsibilities towards the child.

  • (2) The guardian ad litem objectively advocates on behalf of the child and acts as an officer of the court to investigate all matters concerning the best interests of the child.  In addition to other duties required or specified by the court the guardian ad litem:

    • (A) reviews documents, reports, records and other information relevant to the case, meets with and observes the child in appropriate settings, and interviews parents, foster parents, health care providers, child protective services workers and any other person with knowledge relevant to the case;

    • (B) advocates for the best interests of the child by participating in the case, attending any hearings in the matter, and advocating for appropriate services for the child when necessary;

    • (C) monitors the best interests of the child throughout any judicial proceeding, and

    • (D) presents written reports regarding the best interests of the child that include conclusions and recommendations and the facts upon which the conclusions and recommendations are based.

  • (3) The guardian ad litem is given access to the court and OKDHS records, each document, report, record, and other information relevant to the case and to any records and reports of examination of the child's parent or other custodian, made pursuant to the laws relating to child abuse and neglect including reports generated by service providers.

Back to Top