Doug Krause - Guardian ad Litem
May 1, 2012
Doug Krause has been a Guardian ad litem for twelve years. A Guardian ad litem looks out for a child's best interest when that child is participating in the legal process. When a child is in family court for custody, delinquency or Children In Needs of Services issues or when parents and children are in disagreement. Doug is amazed at the number of parents who say, "I can't deal with my child."
The court process can be very intimidating for a child. A child has a lawyer and a Guardian ad litem. The lawyer has to do what the child wants, but the Guardian ad litem doesn't. His job is to make sure that decisions are made in the best interests of the child.
Children in the system can range from two days old when they may be taken away from their parents at the hospital up until eighteen when they age out of the system. When the children are sixteen, the attorney can decide whether to charge them in family court or probate court. It is better for them to be in family court so they don't have a felony record.
There are now about twelve to fifteen Guardians ad litem which is more than when Doug started, thanks to Tony Krulikowski who heads up the program and who has done a fine job of recruiting.
When he started Doug had twenty-five cases. Now it is more like twelve to fifteen. Some are more active than others. Some can last a long time. He has been involved for four or five years in some cases.
Unlike the attorneys, Guardians can visit the children in their homes, go to school and talk with their teachers and see how they are doing in school. If they are placed in residential facilities, even those out of state, Doug visits them. He sees a need for more adoptive families. "People in this community walk around with blinders on." They are not aware of the many children in need of help.
The reward is when you see a kid working in a store and he says hello and you know he has made it.
Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)
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