The Role of a Child's Attorney

What does a Kids First attorney do in a case?

The court appoints Kids First when parental conflict threatens a child’s well-being. The attorney remains involved with each school-age child until the case is concluded, often a year or longer. During that time, the Kids First attorney:

  • Meets regularly with the child client
  • Consults with the child’s teacher(s)
  • Links the family to community resources when appropriate
  • Collaborates with other professionals such as counselors
  • Facilitates dispute resolution by parents
  • Works to keep the child out of the conflict
  • Advocates the child’s position in court

Kids First does not give legal advice to parents. Attorneys do not perform home inspections or do custody evaluations. Our role is to independently represent the children and give them a voice in the process. What a child shares with their attorney is confidential.

Is a Kids First attorney a guardian ad litem (GAL)?

Kids First attorneys serve in the role of Child’s Attorney, not in the role of Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). Although the roles are similar in many regards, there are some differences.

Both a guardian ad litem (GAL) and a Child’s Attorney meet with children regularly, talk with parents, consult with the child’s teacher, refer families to help they need, and work to help the case resolve amicably.

A guardian ad litem (GAL) forms her own judgment about what is best for the child. The GAL may advocate an outcome that is contrary to what the child seeks. The GAL also may reveal the child’s confidences. 

In contrast, the Kids First attorney keeps children’s confidences, which helps us earn their trust. We give the child a meaningful voice in the process. We do not make our own judgment about what we think is best, but help the court understand the child’s perspective. Our attorneys participate in court in the same manner as the other attorneys.

Click here to learn how to have Kids First appointed in a case,

Kids First Law Center

420 6th St. SE, Ste. 160

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

(319) 365-5437


2704 Fleur Dr.

Des Moines, IA 50321

(515) 414-9562