Practice Principles

The Independent Guardian ad Litem Agency has a set of practice principles that our Guardian’s ad Litem adhere to. These principles are based around the central belief that the child’s welfare is the most paramount consideration for our Guardians ad Litem.

The role of the Guardian ad Litem ensures that children are afforded the opportunity to participate in decision making about their care and also offers the Court an independent professional view of what is in the child’s best interest.

The Guardian ad Litem uses their skills as a child care professional to ascertain in a child centred way, the wishes and feelings of the child. This information is captured and presented to the Court in a Court report, along with the Guardian’s professional recommendations in relation to the child’s best interest.

The Guardian attends Court to speak to their report and also attends relevant meetings outside of Court with the various stakeholders, to offer a view on the child’s care plan and to ensure the child’s voice is considered and given due weight in care planning decisions.

TIGALA Guardians ad Litem have committed to practice in line with the following core good Practice Principles:

1. The enquiries carried out by a Guardian ad Litem are focused on direct contact with the child, meaningful engagement and accurate representation of the child’s wishes and feelings. The Guardian ad Litem will tailor their approach to the individual needs of the child, depending on their age and stage of development.

2. Where a Guardian ad Litem's professional opinion differs from the child’s explicit wishes, this will be clearly acknowledged in a written report, and a clear explanation given as to why this is the case.

3. The Guardian ad Litem acknowledges the important role of the family in each child’s life. The Guardian ad Litem enquiries will view the child in the context of a family system. The Guardian ad Litem will promote the role of parents taking into consideration their individual needs, personal challenges and life experiences to date.

4. The Guardian ad Litem enquiries will identify the community and culture where the child came from and ensure that this is included in the planning for the child’s care. The Guardian ad Litem will make recommendations as to the cultural requirements of the child.

5. TIGALA Guardians ad Litem strive to work collaboratively with all of the people in the child’s life, both family and professional. We place a high value on a collaborative, respectful approach.

6. The Guardian ad Litem completes a written report to the Court on the basis of clear evidence gathered through comprehensive enquiries. The Guardian ad Litem’s written recommendations are balanced and have a professionally objective basis. Recommendations are made to support the care planning process and to assist the Court to make decisions in the best interest of the child.

7. TIGALA Guardian ad Litem practice will be quality assured through continuous professional development with regular clinical supervision, training and practice reflection. Each Guardian complies with the HR requirements of TIGALA around Gardai clearance, particular child care qualifications and  are required to have at least 10 years experience of working with vulnerable children and families.

8. The Guardian ad Litem will make all enquiries in a manner that respects all others, is inclusive, child centred and supportive of positive outcomes for children subject to proceedings.

9. TIGALA Guardian’s are required to practice to the highest ethical professional standard in their contact with children, professionals, families and the Court and are required by TIGALA to be experts in the field of child protection and welfare.