Ask a Mentor: Responsibly Leaving a Case

Volunteer Question

I talked to you about a year ago when I got my first case. Now I'm on my second case involving three children. However, I'll have to give up the case as soon as possible. My husband just found out that he is being transferred to another state and therefore, we will be moving. I remember your saying that you have had several cases you picked up from previous guardians and I'm wondering if you have suggestions. I want to leave the case in a responsible way so the children won't be hurt.

Mentor Answer

First of all, thanks for wanting to make it easier for the next volunteer to continue advocacy for the children! In case you have not already done so, notify your volunteer supervisor you are moving. Then arrange to visit the children so that you can personally tell them that you are leaving and can assure them that the new guardian will also care about them and work for their best interest.

Next, work to make sure your case file is in topnotch shape. Check to see if you have included copies of all emails, your child visit reports, your court reports, school progress reports and up-to-date case notes. These case notes will be invaluable as they will inform the new guardian all you have done on this case. If you don't print all of the documents filed with the court which are scanned to you, the volunteer supervisor can print those for the new guardian and add them to the file. I can't overly stress how valuable it will be to the new GAL to have this complete file!

Then if at all possible, schedule a meeting with your volunteer supervisor and program attorney to brief them on the case. You probably have some observations, opinions, expectations and possibly some worries to share that may not be in your file.

We all appreciate the work you have done to move these children along the road to permanency and for all your service as a guardian ad litem. I hope you will volunteer again after you get moved and settled. Call me if you have other questions and best wishes to you and your family in your new home!

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