A new episode of the North Carolina Judicial Branch podcast All Things Judicial was released today. This episode features the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program which equips community volunteers to serve abused and neglected children by advocating for their best interests in court. This episode's guests are GAL volunteers who share why they decided to volunteer, their experiences in the program, and the joys and challenges of representing children in the court system.
“Children deserve to be protected. Children deserve to be nurtured and to be cared-for,” GAL advocate Julia Lee said in the podcast. “Yes, it can be really, really hard. It can also be really, really sad, but it can be the most rewarding thing you will ever do.”
Established by statute in 1983, the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program has been serving abused and neglected children for more than 30 years. All Guardian ad Litem volunteers are trained, supervised, and supported by program staff in each county of the state. 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. This team has full party status in trial and appellate proceedings.
Today’s release is Episode 5 of the podcast, which follows a bi-monthly release schedule. All Things Judicial can be downloaded on all podcast apps and streamed on NCcourts.gov.
About the Host and Guests
This episode is hosted by Bwana Bomani, Recruitment and Retention Specialist with the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program. Guests include the following Guardian ad Litem child advocates:
- Ellis Hankins, 5 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Julia Lee, 10 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Luvenia Williams, 4 years of service as a GAL advocate.
- Michelle Hillison, 3 years of service as a GAL advocate.