More than 40 local volunteer advocates who help district court judges watch out for the best interests of abused and neglected children were recognized for their work April 19 during a luncheon at the Yadkin Cultural Arts Ccenter in Yadkinville.
The Guardian ad Litem volunteers represent District 23 of the NC Courts system, which includes Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. The court appoints an advocate to be the eyes and ears of the judge on a child who has been so abused or neglected that they are placed in foster care homes while the Department of Social Services work with their parents to either provide a safe home for the child or find a new home with relatives or adoptive parents.
Guardians ad Litem get to know the child and conduct independent investigations on each child’s background and current situation. They are charged with monitoring the case to make sure whatever happens is done with the child’s best interest in mind.
A report from the US Department of Justice shows that once a Guardian ad Litem is assigned, approximately 95 percent of children do not languish in long-term foster care and 90 percent of children never re-enter the child welfare system.
Recognizing these volunteers during child abuse prevention month is an annual event. Volunteers from all four counties attended the lunch at the arts center, enjoyed a concert by fourth through sixth grade choral students from Yadkinville Elementary School, and walked through the gallery and artists studios.
Sponsors of the event were Indera Mills Co., Third Branch Café, Yadkin Valley Cookies and several private donors who wished to remain anonymous.
Currently in District 23, there are not enough volunteers to help every child facing foster care and court alone. For information about the program or to volunteer, call the Guardian ad Litem office at 336-651-4465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.