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Governor Pat McCrory Proclaims April as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month
News imageRALEIGH, N.C. For the sixth consecutive year, April will be recognized as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Child Advocate Month, by proclamation of Governor Pat McCrory. The recognition appropriately coincides with National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Volunteer Week.

The Guardian ad Litem Program, a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, recruits, trains, and supervises volunteer advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system. Volunteer advocates work with an attorney to form a plan that ensures these children are placed in a safe, permanent home. The proclamation recognizes the GAL Program's "distinguished record of public service through its work to enhance the quality of life for children" over its 31 years as an organization.

While appreciating advocates who donated more than 463,000 hours of service during 2013 to children in all 100 counties, GAL Child Advocate Month also highlights the nearly $11 million dollars these volunteers saved the state last year as they, in the proclamation's words, helped "improve the quality of information presented to the court" and acted as "the court's eyes and ears in the child's life."

"These GAL volunteers are behind-the-scenes champions who improve the life of vulnerable children one child at a time," says Cindy Bizzell, Guardian ad Litem Administrator. Tami Barker, a GAL volunteer of four years in Denver, N.C., agrees, "It's more than a volunteer opportunity. It's a privilege to share their lives, their triumphs, and their sorrows to see them through to a better future."

The proclamation also serves as a reminder of the immense need for more GAL volunteer advocates throughout the state. In 2013, 4,824 GAL volunteer advocates served 15,251 children in North Carolina. However, more volunteers are needed to ensure that every child has someone to speak on his / her behalf. Currently, more than 1,700 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court.

The GAL program thrives on volunteerism, and the vital work of the program is only made possible by dedicated volunteers who are committed to the cause of keeping children safe from future harm. To rise to the challenge and become a GAL volunteer advocate, call 1-800-982-4041, visit www.ncgal.org or go to www.facebook.com/ncGuardianAdLitem.
Publish Date: 04/04/2014
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