Recognizing the contributions of volunteer child advocates around the state, North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month honors the service of more than 5,400 Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteers, who serve more than 18,000 children a year.
When volunteers advocate for abused and neglected children in court, not only does it save the state millions of dollars, but citizens are able to present the community’s standard for the care and protection of children before the courts. This citizen perspective, to quote the proclamation, helps “improve the quality of information presented to the court” as GAL volunteers act as “the court's eyes and ears in the child's life.”
The governor has proclaimed April as Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month, which 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 35 years as an organization.
The proclamation also serves as a reminder of the immense need for more GAL volunteer advocates throughout the state. More than 2,252 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court.
There are several child advocate and child abuse awareness activities taking place across the state to celebrate this month. For more information on these events or to become a GAL volunteer advocate, visit www.volunteerforfgal.org, call 1-800-982-4041, or go to www.facebook.com/ncGuardianAdLitem.