Guardian Ad Litem needs qualified volunteers


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By Joanna Woodard

Could you step in and speak up for a neglected or abused child in court? Could you spare a few hours a week to help build a child’s future? Could you join me in representing our local child’s client’s wishes in the judicial system? Could you join 1800 other volunteers in this state who say “I Am For The Child?”

I came to Guardian Ad Litem a little over a year ago. I went through 30 hours of instruction and further one-on-one training with our management team. Then I went before a Circuit Court Judge and was sworn in as a Guardian Ad Litem. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of child clients, which is very rewarding as you see them get the care and attention they deserve and need.

In 1983, the NC General Assembly established the office of Guardian Ad Litem ( GAL ) serving as part of the NC Administration Office of the Courts. The judge appoints a GAL lawyer to represent the best interest of the child.

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GAL staffers recruit, train and supervise the volunteers. They run a thorough screening and criminal records check to help ensure the safety and the best interest of the child. Having said this, you do not need to have a legal background or special training prior to joining the program; just a love of children and a desire to see that these children have a chance at a good home life.

You will donate eight hours each month to perform the statutory mandated duties. You will visit the child client, conduct interviews, read reports, monitor court orders, work with the service providers and formulate your court reports, including testifying in court. During all phases of your work, your supervisor will be there for you to answer any questions and give you guidance.

The GAL attorney advocates are skilled litigators who have a sincere interest in juvenile law and neglected children in juvenile court. They ensure that the GAL volunteers have the proper evidence and information needed to make decisions in the best interest of the child.

The rewards come when a child is successfully reunited with either their natural parent(s) or their grandparent(s). Reunification within the family in a safe environment is the ultimate goal.

Could you spare some time and come work with us while we speak for a child client? GAL representatives are needed in every county of North Carolina. The following are contacts for the North Eastern counties:

Pasquotank, Perquimans, Camden and Chowan: (252) 33 –4755

Currituck and Dare County: (252) 475–5587