Lend a foster child your voice; Guardian ad Litem Training in April

Staff Report

YADKINVILLE — Yadkin County needs Guardian ad Litem volunteers to monitor the care and future of local abused and neglected children now involved in the foster care system.

Last year, 79 Yadkin children went through the court system because of abuse and neglect by their families. Of those, about two-thirds were able to go back home or to live with relatives, most of the others were adopted by new families.

“Family changes have recently reduced the number of our active volunteers,” said Cathy Davidson at the Yadkinville GAL office in the courthouse. “A number of new cases have come in and we just don’t have enough volunteers to cover them all.”

Guardians ad Litem are not “guardians” in the traditional sense. They get to know the children, look into their situation and options, and report to the court the children’s desires and best interests. They speak with parents, foster caregivers, social workers, health-care providers, teachers, and others to be able to advocate for the child’s welfare.

Most importantly, they visit the children monthly to make sure they remain happy, healthy and safe in foster care. The GAL reports help the judge make an informed decision about the child’s future.

“The beauty of this volunteer opportunity is that it is relatively easy to fit truly significant work into your personal schedule,” Davidson said, explaining that the average time commitment after training may be no more than four to 10 hours a month after a case begins.

Anyone with the slightest flexibility in their daily schedules can easily volunteer as a GAL advocate, Davidson said. Thirty hours of training is required. Classes are now forming. Application and interview are required. Call Cathy at 336-679-3671 or 336-651-4468 for questions or visit www.volunteerforgal.org for an application.

Staff Report

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