Each year in North Carolina, more than 39,000 abused and neglected children need advocates in court. About one out of 100 children in the state are neglected or abused. These children need someone who will look into their unique situation and represent their best interest in legal matters. The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program has been providing these volunteers for over 30 years since 1983, and helps over 15,000 children each year.
About 5,300 Guardian ad Litem volunteers donate almost half a million hours of volunteer service annually across every county of North Carolina. Their volunteer work saves the state about $11 million each year. However, because there is such a great demand for these volunteers, more are always needed.
This work is very important and ensures that children end up in safe and permanent homes. Guardian ad Litem volunteers usually spend about eight hours each month visiting child-clients, conducting interviews, reading reports, monitoring court orders, collaborating with service providers, formulating fact-based child-focused court reports with recommendations, and possibly testifying in court hearings.
The North Carolina ad Litem Program in District 23, which serves Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, and Yadkin county, is currently offering a six week online New Volunteer Advocate Pre-Service Virtual Training from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 13 through May 18. This program will train volunteers in basic abuse and neglect laws, court processes, and appellate advocacy. The only prerequisite is genuine care for the wellbeing of children.
People interested in applying for this free and fulfilling program must complete an online application by March 26 and be approved by a Guardian ad Litem administrator before participating in training. Applications can be submitted by emailing GAL.District23@nccourts.org or going to their website volunteerforgal.org.