AUGUSTA – On Wednesday, June 23, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham. An amended version of LD 1408, “An Act To Increase the Protection of Children from Domestic Abuse and Violence,” increases training for guardians ad litem to better protect children from domestic violence.
“The recent deaths of three Maine children, apparently at the hands of their parents, are brutal reminders of the improvements we must make in our child welfare system,” said Sen. Diamond. “Guardians ad litem do difficult and necessary work to protect kids, and we need to make sure they have the tools and the training to recognize when a child is in danger. Improvements at every level are critical to keeping Maine kids safe.”
Guardians ad litem are trained, court-appointed individuals tasked with gathering information and making recommendations to the court regarding the best interest of the child in some family matters and child protection cases.
As amended, LD 1408 requires guardians ad litem to receive no less than six hours of core training on domestic abuse and violence, to be developed in collaboration with domestic violence resource centers. Training must include the impacts of domestic violence on children, best practices for recognizing and assessing abuse and its effects on the parenting relationship, and promoting child safety and security. In addition, guardians ad litem must have two hours of continuing education annually on the impact of domestic abuse and violence on children. Ongoing training must include the services available to adult and child victims of domestic abuse and violence, as well as interventions for those who commit domestic abuse.
The law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.