Guardian ad Litem Program training announced

Staff report

January 17, 2013

The Guardian ad Litem Program serving Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, and Yadkin counties will begin a new volunteer training session each Wednesday from Feb. 6 to March 6.

In 1983, the North Carolina General Assembly established the Office of Guardian ad Litem Services as a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.

Pursuant to G.S. 7B-601, when a petition alleging abuse or neglect of a juvenile is filed in district court, the judge appoints a volunteer Guardian ad Litem advocate and an attorney advocate to provide team representation to the child, who has full party status in trial and appellate proceedings.

All Guardian ad Litem advocates are trained, supervised, and supported by program staff in each county of the state. Through this collaborative model involving Guardian ad Litem attorney advocates, volunteers, and staff, all North Carolina children who are alleged by the Department of Social Services to have been abused or neglected receive Guardian ad Litem legal advocacy services.

The role of Guardian ad Litem advocates is to:

- Fulfill state and federal statutory mandates to protect and promote the best interests of juveniles in abuse and neglect court proceedings.

- Help the courts work efficiently toward safety and permanence for children.

- Conduct independent investigations to determine the facts, needs of the child, and the resources appropriate to meet those needs.

- Determine the wishes or expressed preferences of the child and report those to the court.

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity advocating for abused and neglected children, call us at 336/651-4465 for more information or visit www.ncgal.com.