Chief Justice Paul Newby has declared the month of April as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Appreciation Month in the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Branch and the N.C. Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program would like to recognize the more than 5,000 GAL child advocate volunteers and over 130 pro bono attorneys who help improve the lives of North Carolina's abused and neglected children each year.
“For 40 years now, GAL child advocate volunteers and pro bono attorneys have provided a voice for North Carolina children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in court as a result of abuse and neglect,” said Chief Justice Newby. “We thank these volunteers their hard work to ensure that justice for these children is administered without favor, denial, or delay.”
Last year, 5,035 GAL child advocate volunteers and attorney advocates represented more than 17,000 children in 65, 625 child abuse, neglect, and dependency hearings. A child with a GAL volunteer is more likely to find a safe and permanent home, is half as likely to re-enter the foster care system, and is more likely to succeed in school. During the last fiscal year, the GAL Program handled 219 appeals with 130 of those cases being handled by pro bono attorneys who volunteered with the program.
Appreciation events are planned to be held throughout the state this month to recognize and celebrate the volunteers and pro bono attorneys who advocate and provide support for abused and neglected children every day.