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VISTA Helps Guardian ad Litem
News image(Durham). AmericaCorps*VISTA, which stands for Volunteers in Service to America, a federal program to promote volunteers in the community, has awarded North Carolina a grant to train their members to assist with the state’s Guardian ad Litem program. Some 36 new volunteers will be recruited and trained with the money provided.

A recent Durham training session was held to teach nine VISTA members from across the state how to recruit and train Guardian ad Litem volunteers. Under the state’s Guardian ad Litem program, community volunteers team up with attorneys to work together and be a voice for the child in court. Many times it involves removing the juvenile from abusive parents and placing them with a foster home. The volunteers interview the parents, police, the child and others to advise the courts what action to take.

Robert Winston, state director of AmericaCorps*VISTA said from his Raleigh office this was a very unusual project having a federal agency join with state government. “It has been many years since we teamed up with North Carolina,” said Winston. “We are very excited that it will help so many children.” Winston is a North Carolina native who is a former schoolteacher and superintendent of Oxford Masonic Children’s Home.

GAL Administrator Jane Volland agreed it was exciting to be on the ground floor of a new project for the children. “I hope this is the start of a new partnership with state and federal government that lasts for many years to come,” said Volland.

According to state and national program coordinators, the bottom line is an increase in the number of children who are placed in safe, permanent homes with sufficient resources to lead successful lives. Currently, there are more than three thousand Guardian ad Litem volunteers assisting children and the court system in North Carolina.


Publish Date: 02/07/2002
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