The Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program recruits, trains, and provides Housing Court judges with a pool GALs whose goal is to safeguard the rights and prevent the eviction of some of New York City's most vulnerable people. The Court often appoints a GAL when there is concern that a tenant is unable to advocate for him or herself mostly due to mental illness or age. Court appointed GALs are expected to advocate on behalf of their ward with the goal of making any necessary interventions to prevent eviction. Although the specific responsibilities of a GAL vary according to the case, common duties often include: making court appearances, coordinating with social service agencies in an effort to secure needed entitlements or services, and negotiating settlements with other parties involved in the case.
Where the ward is also an Adult Protective Services (APS) client, APS will compensate the GAL with a $600 stipend upon completion of the case. Cases where APS is not involved are considered pro-bono and, as such, receive no compensation. Attorneys are provided with free CLE credits (5 Practice, 1 Ethics) upon completion of the GAL training.
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