The Citizen Advisory Committee was established by Michigan law (MCLA 552.504) to advise the Court and the County Board of Commissioners regarding the office of the Friend of the Court. According to law, the committee shall be composed of an advocate for children, a representative of non-custodial parents, a representative of custodial parents, an attorney who engages primarily in family practice, the county sheriff or designee, the director of the Family Independence Agency or designee, a mental health professional who provides family counseling, a member of the general public who is not a member who could serve on the committee in one of the other listed categories. The members are appointed for a renewable 3-year term.
The committee's responsibility is to review and investigate grievances concerning the Friend of the Court operation, as established under Michigan law (MCLA 552.524). The committee advises the Court and the County Board of Commissioners regarding the office of the Friend of the Court, its duties and performance, and the community's needs relative to the services provided by the Friend of the Court.
Meetings are usually the first Monday of each odd numbered month at 12:00 noon in the Board of Commissioners meeting room on the 3rd floor of the County Administration Building. Confirmation may be obtained from the Board of Commissioner's office.
Meetings begin at 12 noon - County Administration Building - 300 Monroe Ave. - Room 311 - 3rd Floor - (unless noted otherwise)
The committee is composed of the following members, each of whom must be a resident of the county:
The Kent County Board of Commissioners appoints public members of the Citizen Advisory Committee members. Neither the Friend of the Court nor Chief Judge appoints members to the committee. If you wish to serve on the committee, you should contact the Board of Commissioners' Office for information on how to apply.
A citizen advisory committee is advisory only. The responsibilities of the committee are to:
A citizen advisory committee meeting is open to the public. Members of the public must be given an opportunity to comment on any issue under consideration. If a vote is to be taken by the committee, the public must be allowed to comment before the vote is taken. A citizen advisory committee meeting is not open to the public while the committee is reviewing, investigating or holding a hearing on a grievance.
Your County Board of Commissioners, the County Administrator can tell you how to obtain information about citizen advisory committee meeting places and times. The Friend of the Court office may have this information available, if provided by the committee.
A party who has a complaint concerning Friend of the Court office operations or employees may use the grievance procedure. Forms to file the grievance should be available at your local friend of the court office.
No, a grievance filed with the citizen advisory committee can only be about office operations. The committee cannot review grievances about an employee, a recommendation or the content of a court order or office decision.
The committee is required to randomly select and review grievances submitted to the office of the Friend of the Court, as well as the friend of the court response to the grievances. The committee must report its findings to the court and the county board, either immediately or in its annual report. Finally, the citizen advisory committee must examine grievances filed with the Friend of the Court and review or investigate each grievance that claims a decision by a friend of the court employee was made based on gender rather than the best interests of the child.
The committee advises the county board and the circuit court on the performance of the Friend of the Court. The committee's conclusions about grievances reviewed should be part of the information provided to the court and county board. The committee has no authority to make changes in the Friend of the Court procedures recommendations or court orders.
82 Ionia Ave. NW
PO Box 351
Grand Rapids, MI 49501-0351
Monday - Friday
8:00am - 4:30pm
Daniel J. Fojtik
Director, Friend of the Court