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§3.06 Other Representatives
You may appoint a court-appointed special advocate, or CASA volunteer, at any time if your county has a CASA program and if the child would benefit from such services. [WIC §§101(c), 103(e), (g), 110; CRC 5.655(h).] CRC 5.660(f)(4) recommends appointment of a CASA volunteer even if the child has an attorney.
You must also appoint a guardian ad litem for the child under the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA, Public Law 93-247). An attorney appointed for the child will also serve as the CAPTA guardian ad litem. [WIC §326.5; CRC 5.662(c), (d).] If you do not appoint an attorney, appoint a CASA volunteer to serve as the CAPTA guardian ad litem. [WIC §326.5; CRC 5.660(b)(3), (f), 5.662(c).] You must identify the appointee on the record.
When a dependent minor has a potential tort claim against the county, you must appoint a separate guardian ad litem to act on behalf of the minor by overseeing the potential tort action and otherwise protecting the minor's interests prior to the initiation of civil proceedings. You must also appoint counsel to serve on a pro bono or contingency basis to investigate the tort action and to initiate and pursue the tort action if deemed appropriate after consultation with the guardian ad litem. You may seek out counsel on your own, or you may order the guardian ad litem to seek and recommend counsel to you for appointment. [In re Nicole H. (2011) 201 CA4th 388, 396–397, 404.]
You may also appoint a guardian ad litem, pursuant to CCP §§372–373, to represent any incompetent party in the proceeding. The appointment should be made if you find by a preponderance of the evidence that the parent is incompetent within the meaning of PC §1367 or Prob C §1801. “The test for incompetence in this context is whether the party has the capacity to understand the nature or consequences of the proceedings, and is able to assist counsel in preparation of the case.” [In re Jessica G. (2001) 93 CA4th 1180, 1186.] You must be sure to explain to the party what a guardian ad litem is or what a guardian ad litem does, as well as the rights that would be transferred away to the guardian ad litem on appointment.
If you have knowledge of a party’s minor status or incompetence, you have a sua sponte duty to appoint a guardian ad litem for that party. [In re A.C. (2008) 166 C4th 146, 155.]
In dependency proceedings, counsel that is appointed for a minor also serves as the child’s guardian ad litem. [In re S.A. (2010) 182 CA4th 1128, 1135.]