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Celebrating 30 Years of Guardian ad Litem
News imageNorth Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteers have been serving the state's most vulnerable children the abused and neglected for 30 years.

"For three decades, GAL staff have equipped citizen volunteers to advocate in court for the state's abused and neglected children," GAL State Administrator Cindy Bizzell says. "The powerful ripple effect of each staff member's knowledge, experience, and support is evident as thousands of GALs ensure timely permanent outcomes for tens of thousands of children."

With more than 491,000 hours of service donated by 5,115 GAL volunteers and 150 pro bono attorneys in 2012 alone, these volunteers have much to offer the court system, the children they advocate for, and the community at large. In the annual proclamation recognizing GAL and declaring April Child Advocate Month, Governor Pat McCrory described GAL advocates as the "eyes and ears of the court in the child's life" and praised them for improving the quality of information presented in a court case.

GAL advocates volunteer multiple hours a month as they represent and promote the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. They conduct independent investigations including visits with the child, parents, teachers, and other people involved in the child's life to determine the needs and wishes of the child. Teamed with a GAL attorney, GAL volunteers provide representation, and a voice, for children in court. Furthermore, GAL volunteers provide quality advocacy that allows children to move through the court system in a timely manner, while finding permanency and safety for the child remains paramount. The GAL volunteer's many hours of advocacy help the state to save money, and their volunteerism provides children with a voice in the courtroom they might not otherwise have.

Currently in North Carolina, more than 1,500 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court. To rise to the challenge and become a GAL volunteer, visit www.ncgal.org, call 1-800-982-4041, or go to www.facebook.com/ncGuardianAdLitem.
Publish Date: 04/15/2013
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