Representation of Children as a Guardian Ad Litem — 2016 Qualifying Course

MCLE Credits: 7.0
Ethics Credits Included: 2.0 (GAL Child: 7.0)

Live on Site: Monday, September 26 / Richmond
Registration: 8:00 a.m.
Program: 8:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
MCLE Credit: 7.0 (Ethics: 2.0; GAL Child: 7.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 7.0 Live Interactive MCLE Credit Symbol
Video on Site Options


Why Attend?

  • Learn the roles, responsibilities, and duties of guardian ad litem representation
  • Understand the laws governing child abuse and neglect, foster care case review, termination of parental rights, and entrustments
  • Receive tips for effectively communicating with children and for working with children as witnesses
  • Review the ethical obligations of GALs for children

To be appointed as a guardian ad litem for children in Virginia, members of the bar must meet the standards set forth by the Judicial Council of Virginia. This seven-hour course meets the training requirement under these standards. All attorneys who wish to qualify for court appointment as GALs for children in Virginia must take this course.

GAL for Children Qualifying Credit Hours: 7.0
GAL Information


  • Overview of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court law
  • Role of social services agencies in handling abuse and neglect cases
  • Developmental needs of children
  • Characteristics of abusive and neglectful families and of children who are victims; physical, medical, and mental health aspects of child abuse and neglect
  • Communication with children, children as witnesses, use of closed circuit television
  • Cultural awareness

This program is supported by the Court Improvement Program, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, through federal grant funds of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information on becoming a GAL for children in Virginia, please contact the Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia, 100 North Ninth Street, Third Floor, Richmond, Virginia 23219, (804) 786-6455, or visit this website:


Can't Attend?
Attend one of the 7 video replays offered statewide in January, March, June or September of 2017.
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8:00 Registration
8:30 Explanation of the GAL Qualification Process for Guardians Ad Litem for Children
Sandra L. Karison
8:45 Roles, Responsibilities, and Duties of Guardian Ad Litem Representation; Review of the Standards to Govern the Performance of Guardians Ad Litem for Children
Hon. Thomas P. Sotelo
10:00 Break
10:15 Role of Social Service Agencies in Handling Abuse and Neglect Cases; Laws Governing Child Abuse and Neglect; Foster Care Review and Permanency Planning; Termination of Parental Rights
Sandra L. Karison
11:45 Lunch (provided at live program only)
12:45 Developmentally Appropriate and Culturally Competent Interviews of Children and Adolescents
Marcella Rustioni
2:15 Break
2:30 Developmental Needs of Children: Characteristics of Abusive and Neglectful Families and of Children Who Are Victims; Physical, Medical, and Mental Health Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect
Robin Foster, M.D.
4:00 Break
4:15 Ethical Considerations When Serving as a Guardian Ad Litem
Leslie Haley, Esq.
5:15 Adjourn



Sandra L. Karison, Director, Court Improvement Program, Office of the Executive Secretary, Supreme Court of Virginia / Richmond
Hon. Thomas P. Sotelo, Judge, Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court / Fairfax
Robin Foster, M.D.; FAAP; FACEP; Associate Professor; Chair, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, VCU Medical Center / Richmond
Leslie A.T. Haley, Esq.,
Formerly in Virginia State Bar Counsel’s Office; Haley Law PLC / Midlothian
Marcella Rustioni, LCSW, DCFI, Arlington County Child Advocacy Center / Arlington

Locations, Dates and Fees

LIVE REGISTRATION FEES (Lunch included at live program only)

$150 regular registration (printed materials included).
$165 on-site registration (if space is available) (printed materials included).


Richmond / Monday, September 26
Four Points by Sheraton Richmond (Venue Website / Google Map)
9901 Midlothian Turnpike
(804) 323-1144

A special 15% discount and free shipping on Virginia CLE®–published books will be available for purchases made at the seminar site.

Cancellation/transfer requests will be honored through 5:00 p.m. of the DAY BEFORE the seminar. 

If you have a disability that requires special accommodation, please contact Virginia CLE® well in advance of the program date.

Private recording of this program is prohibited.

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Our Address

  • 105 Whitewood Road
    Charlottesville, VA 22901


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