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The
Fatherhood

Coalition

GAL (Guardian ad litem)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE TRAINING
PROTEST

Tuesday, April 15, 2003
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm
10 Winter Place, Boston, MA

How to Write an Effective GAL Report


GAL PROTEST LINKS


How to Write an Effective GAL Report.

Observation  Child runs happily to parent.
Mother

Evidence of a loving relationship between mother and child.

Father

Child's behavior indicates a fear of father's disapproval.

Observation  Parent was intoxicated, but claims to be in a rehab program.
Mother

The mother has had experienced substance abuse, but she shows a clear willingness to deal with her problems in a healthy manner, as evidenced by her voluntary treatment in a rehab program.

Father

The father was intoxicated, and "claims" to be in a rehab program.

Observation  Parent recounts a violent episode where their spouse screamed obscenities, grabbed a picture off the wall and threw it at them, which struck them and shattered upon impact.
Mother

The mother revealed an episode where, in a blind rage, the father launched into an obscenity-laden verbal attack, and then grabbed a picture frame of the wall and threw it at her. The picture struck her and shattered. She chose not to go to a hospital for fear of further angering him.

Father

Try to deny that the event happened as he perceived it. If that fails, minimize the event's importance by explaining how the judge won't want to hear it. If he is still insistent, try to discover what he did that caused her to react as she did.

If you do decide to include it in the report, you can write it up like this:

In response to the father's verbal, psychological, and physical abuse, the mother revealed an incident where she defended herself by grabbing a picture off the wall and threw it in his direction. The picture shattered upon impact, but the father was unharmed.

Observation  Despite very difficult economic circumstances following the family breakup, the parent has managed to rent a comfortable apartment with enough room for the children. The apartment was clean and sufficiently furnished.
Mother

Despite very difficult economic circumstances following the family breakup, the mother has managed to rent a comfortable apartment with enough room for the children. The apartment was clean and sufficiently furnished.

Father

(Leave out of report).

Observation  In response to the question "What one thing about your parenting requires improvement?" the parent replied, "I lose my temper too easily."
Mother

(Leave out of report)

Father

The father often gets angry, at his child as well as at what he refers to as "the court system." In response to the question: "What one thing about your parenting requires improvement?" the father replied, "I lose my temper too easily."

Observation  Parent hugs child and openly displays physical affection.
Mother

Mother has a loving relationship with child, which she demonstrates by healthy physical displays of affection.

Father

Father appears to be excessive in his need to touch the child. Though this reporter found no evidence of sexual abuse, the father's display of physical affection is troubling.

Observation  Parent verbally disciplined child when the child threw a tantrum in the restaurant during interview.
Mother

The mother displayed a healthy, instinctive understanding of the appropriate application of parental discipline. When the child had a tantrum during the interview in the restaurant, insisting on having ice cream, the mother firmly but gently corrected the child.

Father

Father appeared to be controlling with the child. At one point during the interview, the child's repeated request for ice cream was treated with excessive harshness by the father.

Observation Child appears fearful of parent.
Mother

Child has been traumatized by seeing mother abused by father, and has developed pathological behavior to avoid showing affection for mother out of fear father will retaliate by hitting mom. Father's abuse must be so severe that the child does not even recognize that with the father not present, there is no way he can know.

Father

Child appears fearful of the father, evidence of father's abusive and controlling behavior.

Observation  The parent has lots of friends and an active social life.
Mother

Despite the trauma of the family breakup, the mother has maintained relationships with her friends and has a social life outside of her family that helps her maintain a healthy psychological balance.

Father

The father appears to be more interested in hanging out with his friends than paying proper attention to his children. He frequently has friends over, even when he has the children with him.

 


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