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Rowan County Guardian ad Litem program training class to begin

Are you ready to make a difference in your community? You can be a voice for an abused and/or neglected child in foster care. Learn how to be an advocate 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 Jan. 30, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. This training is free and is held in Salisbury. The Rowan County GAL Program is in need of your assistance in advocating for our most vulnerable citizens.

If you are interested in advocating for abused and/or neglected children or would like to learn more about the GAL Program, visit www.volunteerforgal.org and complete the online application. If you have any questions, call 704-262-5647. Space is limited.

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 North Carolina General Statute 7B-601.

Throughout North Carolina, the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) 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, and it serves 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 a 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, you need to complete an application, a screening interview and a criminal record check. The program also requires 30 hours of training before being sworn in by a judge and appointed to a case. Volunteers are supervised by program staff and continuing education trainings on advocacy issues are offered periodically.

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