Darcia serves as both a court appointed Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and Parent Evaluator (PE) in Western Washington, when parent's can't reach an agreement about how to best parent their children after divorce or legal separation. Each county keeps a registry of qualified Guardians ad litem's, who have completed the requisite training to be on their certified registry. Whereas a Parenting Evaluator, is a mental health professional, often with specific training, experience and education relating to adult and child psychopathology, family systems, and child and adolescent development.
Both the PE and the GAL investigate the child's situation and circumstances, interview parents, teachers, care providers and other's with personal knowledge of the family dynamics. They are then called upon to provide a report of their investigation and factual findings. However, a GAL actually attends court hearings and advocates for the child which a PE does not. A PE will evaluate the parental emotional deficits and parental capacity, and make recommendations for treatment to improve parental capacity and protect the children.