The Forsyth County Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) program equips community volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect and by advocating for their best interest in court. GAL volunteers are everyday citizens who have undergone screening and training with their local GAL programs.
When children are removed from their homes due to evidence of abuse or neglect, they are placed in the care of the state. Foster care serves as a temporary placement for these children, but they are often stuck moving from placement to placement with little hope of reunification. GAL volunteers play a critical role in these children’s lives by building a trusting relationship with these children, determining what is in their best interest, and acting as a voice for them in court. They work to reunite the children with their families, and when that is not an option, look for others who may be able to provide safe, loving and permanent homes.
The role of the Guardian ad Litem advocate is to:
- Help the courts work efficiently toward safety and permanence for children
- Conduct independent investigations to determine the facts, needs of the child, and the resources appropriate to meet those needs
- Determine the wishes or expressed preferences of the child and report those to the court
- Provide a voice for abused and neglected children in Forsyth County.
Each GAL volunteer is paired with a GAL supervisor and also a GAL attorney advocate and the case is covered with a team approach to ensure advocacy and champion the needs of each child in court. The model of co-appointing volunteers and attorneys to speak for all children who are alleged by the Department of Social Services to have been abused or neglected in court, provides strong competent advocacy for the children who need it.
One of the best opportunities is volunteering with the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program.
The Guardian ad Litem Program is a volunteer-based organization that changes the lives of abused and neglected children by ensuring their interests are heard and served in the court and community. Through the volunteer’s advocacy, a child is able to find a safe and permanent home as soon as possible.
To those looking for a way to make their time meaningful, consider being a voice for an abused and neglected child. The Guardian ad Litem program stands tall in the corner of every child who has suffered abuse or neglect.
Could you be the voice for a child in our community? If so, becoming a Guardian ad Litem advocate could be a great opportunity for you!
For more information on the Guardian ad Litem Program or the training contact Sherita Cain at 336-779-6321 or please visit our website at www.volunteerforgal.org