Jackson County Office of the Guardian ad Litem
625 E 26th Street
The Office of the Guardian ad Litem (OGAL) is appointed as the guardian ad litem -an attorney who represents the best interests of most of the children involved in the abuse and neglect cases filed in Jackson County. The OGAL attorneys speak on behalf of the children at all hearings. It is OGAL's responsibility to recommend what it believes is in the best interest of each child that it represents. This is not necessarily the same as what the child wishes. Part of that recommendation is based on the belief that each child is entitled to a safe, permanent home, whether that is with the child's parents or with an adoptive family or other permanent placement. OGAL staff also advocate for children at various meetings held by the Children's Division. OGAL volunteers assist the small staff with investigating the child and family's situtation, developing a course of action to present to court on behalf of the child, explaining the court processes and rulings to the child, facilitating resolutions to the presenting problems, and monitoring progress on those goals. A crucial responsibility of OGAL and its volunteers is to establish and maintain a relationship with the child to ensure that the child's wishes are presented to the court, even if those wishes are not what OGAL is recommending on behalf of the child's best interests.