Gov. Pat McCrory Proclaims April as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month
News imageFor the fifth consecutive year, April will be recognized as North Carolina Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Child Advocate Month, by proclamation of Governor Pat McCrory.

As the Guardian ad Litem Program celebrates its 30th anniversary, the proclamation recognizes the GAL Program's "distinguished record of public service through its work to enhance the quality of life for children." The Guardian ad Litem Program, a division of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts (NCAOC), 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.

While appreciating advocates who have donated more than 491,000 hours of service during 2012 to children in all 100 counties, GAL Child Advocate Month also highlights the nearly $11 million dollars these volunteers saved the state last year as they, in the proclamation's words, helped "improve the quality of information presented to the court" and acted as "the court's eyes and ears in the child's life."

The proclamation also serves as a reminder of the immense need for more GAL volunteer advocates throughout the state. In 2012, 5,115 GAL volunteer advocates, along with approximately 150 pro bono attorneys, served 15,140 children in North Carolina. However, more volunteers are needed to ensure that every child has someone to speak on his / her behalf. Currently in North Carolina, more than 1,500 children do not have a GAL volunteer to advocate for them in court.

This year, the Guardian ad Litem Program will celebrate April with more than 50 events at least one per judicial district happening across the state, in which volunteers' service will be recognized and acclaimed. From Murphy to Elizabeth City, these events will be as diverse in their celebrations as the GAL volunteers and the children they serve, from luncheons to parades to court proclamations to adoption ceremonies.

The GAL program thrives on volunteerism, and the vital work of the program is only made possible by dedicated volunteers who are committed to the cause of keeping children safe from future harm. To rise to the challenge and become a GAL volunteer advocate, visit www.ncgal.org, call 1-800-982-4041, or go to www.facebook.com/ncGuardianAdLitem.
Publish Date: 04/01/2013