What is a Guardian ad Litem?
What do GALs do?
GAL volunteers get to know the child and everyone involved in the child’s life, including family, teachers, doctors, social workers and others. They gather information about the child and what the child needs. Their recommendations to the court help the judge make an informed decision about a child’s future. GAL volunteers provide a stable presence in a child’s life, remaining on each case until the child finds a safe, permanent home.
Who can serve as a volunteer GAL?
GAL volunteers are people like you. Some volunteers work full time, some are retired, some are students, some are teachers, some are grandparents; but they are all extraordinary people who want to make the voices of abused and neglected children heard.
Why are there volunteer GALs?
In South Carolina, children do not normally go to court. That means that children are not present when decisions about whether or not they return home, or other decisions about their futures are being made. GAL volunteers bridge that gap and tell the judge what the child wants, without having to traumatize them in a courtroom setting.
How do volunteer GALs make a difference in a child’s life?
GAL volunteers help the voices of abused and neglected children be heard. The benefits that a volunteer provides a foster child have been well documented. A 2006 audit conducted by the US Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General demonstrates that once a volunteer is assigned, approximately:
• 95% of children do not languish in Long term foster care.
• 90% of children never re-enter the child welfare system.
Where do I go to become a volunteer GAL?
You can sign up by following the steps on our Become a Volunteer page or you can call the Lee County office at (803) 484-9366 to find out more.