Guardian ad Litem training to begin
Learn how to be a voice in court by becoming a trained Guardian ad Litem.
The Rowan County Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has scheduled a new volunteer training class beginning Oct. 7. The program needs assistance in advocating for children. If you are interested in advocating for abused and/or neglected children or would like to learn more about the GAL Program, please visit www.ncgal.org or call 704-262-5647 to request an application.
A Guardian ad Litem advocate is a trained community volunteer who is appointed, along with a Guardian ad Litem attorney, by a district court judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children petitioned into the court system by the Department of Social Services. Their role is mandated by a North Carolina General Statute.
Throughout North Carolina, the program seeks to serve the best interests of thousands of children who find themselves the subjects of court cases by assigning them Guardian ad Litem volunteers.
The program exists in every county throughout the state, serving more than 15,000 children a year.
The GAL volunteer’s responsibilities include investigating details of the case, collaborating with other participants in the case, recommending what’s best for the child by writing court reports, empowering the child’s voice, staying vigilant by constantly monitoring the case and keeping all information confidential.
The main qualification for becoming a GAL is to have a sincere concern for the well-being of children. There are no education or experience requirements.
GAL advocates commit to spending at least eight hours per month on a case, and cases usually take at least a year to be resolved.
In order to apply, people need to complete an application, a screening interview and a criminal record check. The program also requires volunteers to undergo 30 hours of training before being sworn in by a judge and appointed to a case.
Volunteers are supervised by program staff. Continuing education trainings on advocacy issues are offered periodically.