Having served for 5 years as the General Counsel of a nine state regional provider of acute, residential and outpatient services to patients under age 21 with emotional, behavioral, developmental and mental health problems, John takes a special interest in assisting those with special healthcare needs. One mechanism available through which to serve such special needs individuals is by appointment as the individual’s Guardian ad Litem.
A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney appointed by the court to look after the best interests of a child or incompetent adult (i.e., developmentally disabled or mentally incapacitated adult) during court proceedings. The term is literally translated "guardian for the lawsuit." The Guardian ad Litem may, for example, represent individuals in custody actions where there are allegations of abuse or neglect, individuals who are the subject of protective order proceedings, foster care children and individuals facing the possibility of commitment to a psychiatric facility. Different from a legal guardian, the Guardian ad Litem has no control over the person or property of the individual and doesn't provide a home for the individual.
When the court is making decisions that will affect a child or incompetent individual's future, this individual needs and deserves a spokesperson - an objective and qualified representative who can discern and provide independent information about the best interests of the individual. While other parties in the case are concerned about the child, the Guardian ad Litem is the only person in the case whose sole concern is the best interests of the child, and he or she is assigned as an advocate for the child for the duration of the court proceeding.
Legal representation for these individuals is only one aspect of assuring their well-being. The guardian ad Litem works closely with family, therapists, caseworkers, teachers, physicians and other medical professionals to determine and pursue the best interests of the child or incompetent adult. In some cases, particularly those involving individuals with special healthcare needs, an attorney with a background in health law may be the best choice to serve as Guardian ad Litem.
John Little is committed to using the experience he has gained over more than 15 years in public health and healthcare regulatory and operational matters to serving individuals with special healthcare needs. For more information, contact John Little, Attorney at Law, PC.