Rowan offers new session of Guardian ad Litem volunteer classes
The Rowan County Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program has a new volunteer training class beginning May 6. Throughout North Carolina, the Guardian ad Litem 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 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. The role of a guardian is mandated by state general statute.
The Rowan County GAL Program is in need of your assistance in advocating for our most vulnerable citizens. The program exists in every county throughout the state and serves more than 15,000 children a year.
The Guardian ad Litem volunteer’s responsibilities include investigating details of the case, collaborating with other participants in the case, recommending what’s best for 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 Guardian ad Litem 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, potential volunteers 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.
If anyone is interested in advocating for abused and/or neglected children or would like to learn more about the program visit www.ncgal.org or call our local Rowan County office at 704-639-7517 to request an application.