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. Our program exists in every county throughout the state, and we serve more than 15,000 children a year.
For more information about the program, view our fact sheet as a PDF.
GAL Responsiblities, Qualifications and Requirements
The GAL volunteer’s responsibilities include digging for details in 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 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 8 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. We also require 30 hours of training before being sworn in by a judge and appointed to a case. Our volunteers are supervised by program staff, and can attend continuing education trainings on advocacy issues. For specific volunteer duties, view our volunteer job description.
Ready to become a GAL?
Visit www.volunteerforgal.org to receive more information about becoming a GAL volunteer.
The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program is a services division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, and a member of the National CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) Association.