Job Opening: Attorney 1
Department: Human Services - Children and Youth Services
Opening Date: September 27, 2022
Salary Range: $60,000 - $72,000
Weekly Hours: 37.5
Shift: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Guardian ad litems (GALs), who must be attorneys-at-law, are appointed when a proceeding, including a Hearing Officer, has been initiated alleging that a child is a dependent child under paragraph (1), (2), (3), (4) or (10) of the definition of “Dependent Child” in section 6303 (relating to definitions). The court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the legal interests and best interests of child.
Dependency proceedings are commenced when it is alleged a child:
1. Is without proper parental care or control, subsistence, education as required by law, or other care or control necessary for physical, mental or emotional health, or morals.
2. Has been placed for care or adoption in violation of law
3. Has been abandoned by parents, guardian, or other custodian
4. Is without a parent, guardian or legal custodian; or
5. Is born to a parent whose parental rights with regard to another child have been involuntarily terminated under 23 Pa. Code 2511 (relating to grounds for involuntary termination) within three years immediately preceding the date of birth of the child and conduct of the parent poses a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the child.
The GAL also represents the best interests of children during Termination of Parental Rights hearings in Orphans Court in situations where a child is not able to be reunified with his/her caregiver and a permanent plan is made for adoption.
GALs must complete the required GAL training sponsored by the AOPC (Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts), prior to serving as a GAL. The training is available via DVD.
Meet with the child as soon as possible following assignment pursuant to Rule 1151 and on a regular basis thereafter in a manner appropriate to the child’s age and maturity. This may include meeting at a Residential Treatment Center, foster home, group home or family home.
Review relevant court and county agency records, reports of examination of the guardians or the child, and medical, psychological, and school records.
Reviews proposed court orders and discuss matters involving specific children with the assigned Children and Youth Services (CYS) caseworker or supervisor in order to gather information about the child, determine what services have been provided and review the CYS planning for the child.
Review reports prepared by the County Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs).
Participate in all proceedings, including hearings before masters, and administrative hearings and reviews to the degree necessary to adequately represent the child.
Conducts such further investigation necessary to ascertain the facts.
Interview potential witnesses, including the child’s guardians, caretakers, and foster parents, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and present witnesses and evidence necessary to protect the best interests of the child.
Promptly review motions to modify placement of children and respond when appropriate.
Explain the proceedings to the child to the extent appropriate give the child’s age, mental condition, and emotional condition, and discuss potential outcomes.
Advise the court of the child’s wishes to the extent that they can be ascertained and present to the court whatever evidence exists to support the child’s wishes. When appropriate because of the age or mental and emotional condition of the child, determine to the fullest extent possible the wishes of the child and communicate this information to the court. A difference between the child’s wishes under this paragraph and recommendations under paragraph (7) 42 PA. C.S. 6311(b); Pa. R.J.C.P. No 1154.
Adhere to the County Policy regarding House Bill 435, mandating all employees, contracted workers, and volunteers at a child welfare agency to provide Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance (Childline), FBI Criminal History, and Pa State Police clearances prior to commencement of employment or service and update the clearance every thirty six months
Conducts research in rendering legal opinions.
Formulates agency rules and regulations.
Litigates cases in court.
Knowledge of the judicial procedures and the rules of evidence.
Knowledge of the principles, methods, materials, and practices of legal research.
Ability to interpret, analyze and organize facts, evidence, precedents and to present such materials in opinions, orders, or decisions.
Ability to interpret and analyze legal documents and instruments.
Ability to draft legal documents and proposed legislation.
Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships.
Ability to communicate effectively orally.
Ability to communicate effective in writing.
Minimum Experience and Training: Graduation from an approved school of law and certificate of admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, or preparatory steps to become a member thereof. Continued employment is conditional upon the obtaining of such certificate of admission.
Legal Requirements: This position falls under the provisions of the Child Protective Services Law.
Under the Law, a conditional offer of employment will require submission and approval of satisfactory criminal history reports, including, but not limited to, PA State Police, Child Abuse history clearance, and FBI clearance.