Introduced in House Passed House Introduced in Senate Passed Senate Became Law
12/18/2019     01/28/2020  

Guardian ad litem for children; certification of compliance with certain standards.

Requires guardians ad litem appointed to represent a child in a matter to conduct an investigation in compliance with certain standards. The bill requires a guardian ad litem to file with the court, along with any attorney representing a party or party proceeding pro se, a certification of the guardian ad litem's compliance with such standards, specifically addressing such standards requiring face-to-face contact with the child. The bill further requires the guardian ad litem to document the hours spent satisfying such face-to-face contact requirements and specifies that compensation for such contact shall be at the same rate as that for in-court service.

Date Version PDF TXT
01/22/2020 House: Committee substitute printed 20106038D-H1 Open
12/18/2019 House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20102539D Open

            

2020 SESSION

    20106038D
    HOUSE BILL NO. 137
    AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE
    (Proposed by the House Committee for Courts of Justice
    on January 22, 2020)
    (Patron Prior to Substitute--Delegate Collins)
    A BILL to amend and reenact � 16.1-274 of the Code of Virginia, relating to guardians ad litem for children; certification of compliance with certain standards.

    Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

    1. That � 16.1-274 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

    16.1-274. Time for filing of reports; copies furnished to attorneys; amended reports; fees.

    A. Whenever any court directs an investigation pursuant to subdivision A of � 16.1-237 or � 16.1-273 or 9.1-153, or an evaluation pursuant to � 16.1-278.5, the probation officer, court-appointed special advocate, or other agency conducting such investigation shall file such report with the clerk of the court directing the investigation. The clerk shall furnish a copy of such report to all attorneys representing parties in the matter before the court no later than 72 hours, and in cases of child custody, 15 days, prior to the time set by the court for hearing the matter. If such probation officer or other agency discovers additional information or a change in circumstance after the filing of the report, an amended report shall be filed forthwith and a copy sent to each person who received a copy of the original report. Whenever such a report is not filed or an amended report is filed, the court shall grant such continuance of the proceedings as justice requires. All attorneys receiving such report or amended report shall return such to the clerk upon the conclusion of the hearing and shall not make copies of such report or amended report or any portion thereof. However, the chief judge of each juvenile and domestic relations district court may provide for an alternative means of copying and distributing reports or amended reports filed pursuant to � 9.1-153.

    B. Notwithstanding the provisions of �� 16.1-69.48:2 and 17.1-275, when the court directs the appropriate local department of social services to conduct supervised visitation or directs the appropriate local department of social services or court services unit to conduct an investigation pursuant to � 16.1-273 or to provide mediation services in matters involving a childs custody, visitation, or support, the court shall assess a fee against the petitioner, the respondent, or both, in accordance with fee schedules established by the appropriate local board of social services when the service is provided by a local department of social services or by a court services unit. The fee schedules shall include (i) standards for determining the paying partys or parties ability to pay and (ii) a scale of fees based on the paying partys or parties income and family size and the actual cost of the services provided. The fee charged shall not exceed the actual cost of the service. The fee shall be assessed as a cost of the case and shall be paid as prescribed by the court to the local department of social services, locally operated court services unit or Department of Juvenile Justice, whichever performed the service, unless payment is waived. The method and medium for payment for such services shall be determined by the local department of social services, Department of Juvenile Justice, or the locally operated court services unit that provided the services.

    C. When a local department of social services or any court services unit is requested by another local department or court services unit in the Commonwealth or by a similar department or entity in another state to conduct an investigation involving a childs custody, visitation or support pursuant to � 16.1-273 or, in the case of a request from another state pursuant to a provision corresponding to � 16.1-273, or to provide mediation services, or for a local department of social services to provide supervised visitation, the local department or the court services unit performing the service may require payment of fees prior to conducting the investigation or providing mediation services or supervised visitation.

    D. In any matter in which the court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent a child, such guardian ad litem shall conduct an investigation in accordance with the Standards to Govern the Performance of Guardians Ad Litem for Children established by the Judicial Council of Virginia. Prior to the commencement of the dispositional hearing of any such matter, the guardian ad litem shall file with the court, with a copy to all attorneys representing parties to such matter and all parties proceeding pro se in such matter, a certification of the guardian ad litems compliance with the Standards to Govern the Performance of Guardians Ad Litem for Children established by the Judicial Council of Virginia, specifically addressing compliance with such standards requiring face-to-face contact with the child in such certification. The guardian ad litem shall document the hours spent satisfying such face-to-face contact requirements in such certification, which shall be compensated at the same rate as that for in-court service.

    Picture Name From Date Type
    Christopher E. Collins R-Richmond Sponsor
    Date Branch Action
    01/29/2020 Senate Senate: Referred to Committee on the Judiciary
    01/28/2020 House House: VOTE: (97-Y 0-N)
    01/22/2020 House House: Reported from Courts of Justice with substitute (22-Y 0-N)
    01/22/2020 House House: Committee substitute printed 20106038D-H1
    01/17/2020 House House: Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendments (7-Y 0-N)
    12/18/2019 House House: Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20102539D
    12/18/2019 House House: Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
    Summary
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