Information for Foster Parents

Why has a Guardian ad Litem been appointed to our foster-child?
As a result of Court proceedings involving the HSE, the presiding Judge appointed a Guardian ad Litem to the child. The Guardian ad Litem has been appointed by the Judge in order to ensure that the child’s wishes are heard during the course of ongoing Court proceedings. Prior to each Court hearing, the Guardian will provide the Court with a detailed report in respect of all maters pertaining to the needs of the child in your care. The Judge will considers the recommendations made by the Guardian ad Litem and all other parties, prior to making a decision in relation to the child.

What happens once a Guardian ad Litem is appointed?
Following the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem, she will meet with the allocated social worker in order to discuss the child’s circumstances. The Guardian ad Litem will also review all of the social work files about the child. The Guardian will then contact you in order to arrange a time to visit you in your home, in order to discuss how the child is getting on in your care and to gather information in relation to (a) all aspects of the child’s needs and (b) any concerns which you would like to bring to the Guardian ad Litem’s attention. If there are any issues which you are concerned about, it is important to bring this to the attention of the Guardian ad Litem.

Initially, the Guardian ad Litem will introduce herself to the child in an informal manner. During the course of the Guardian ad Litem’s involvement she will interview the child, if she deems this to be appropriate, prior to each hearing. The interview techniques used involve the use of child-friendly interview tools. The Guardian will ensure that the child in your care is facilitated in communicating his or her wishes regarding the ongoing care proceedings through the use of a variety of child-centered tools. The Guardian ad Litem will also observe the children during access visits.

We foster a baby. What role can a Guardian ad Litem play in respect of non-verbal children?
In the case of the appointment of a Guardian to an infant or toddler, the Guardian will visit you as deemed necessary in order to discuss how the child is progressing and to observe the child’s developmental progress.

What is the background of the Guardian ad Litem?
Orla Ryan is an independent Guardian ad Litem, an experienced social worker, who has expertise in the field of child protection.