The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program matches trained volunteers with children who have been indicated in abuse or/and neglect proceedings in court. The volunteers, paired with attorney advocates, make recommendations regarding the best interest of the children in order to ensure a safe, nurturing and permanent home. Thirty hours of pre-service training are required. Compassion and concern for children are essential. In addition, strong collaboration and communication skills are needed to work with families, caregivers, educators and community agencies, and to provide written reports to the court regarding the children's needs and status. This program serves more than 500 children in New Hanover and Pender counties. The GAL program has an ongoing waiting list with an average of 20 children in need of volunteer advocates at any time.
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