Absolute immunity has historic justifications but it also represents one of the major failures of the modem child welfare system. Attorneys who act as guardians are granted absolute immunity, which serves as a shield that excuses them from being accountable for the consequences of their actions. Without presentation of a defense, all the parties involved are left to speculate as to whether the guardian adequately performed the necessary duties to protect the child. Immunity also perpetuates maintenance of the status quo rather than moving toward improved systems of care and accountability. Section II of this note provides an overview of the current guardian ad litem system. Section III summarizes the origin and evolution of the absolute immunity doctrine. Section IV discusses instances where courts have chosen not to grant absolute immunity. Section V discusses and critiques the mechanisms in place to prevent abuses of absolute immunity. Section VI proposes suggestions for improving the current guardian ad litem system, including an alternative possibility to granting absolute immunity to produce more equitable results. Finally, section VII provides a brief conclusion and summary.
This One's for the Children: The Time Has Come to Hold Guardians Ad Note, Litem Responsible for Negligent Injury and Death to Their Charges, 52 Clev. St. L. Rev. 655 (2004)