Guardian ad Litem celebrates collaborative efforts during National Foster Care Month
Not all children have a safe and happy upbringing. Some children need our protection because of abuse and neglect. There are currently more than 4,000 children in South Carolina who are in foster care. Foster parents become the temporary parental figures for children who are removed from their homes.
Adults working with foster children include foster parents and volunteers with the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program. Volunteer GALs are trained to conduct independent investigations and make recommendations to the Family Court about what is in the child’s best interest.
Foster parents are a primary source of information about the well-being of the child. The collaboration between foster parents and volunteer GALs improves the quality of child advocacy, ensuring that children’s needs are met. Ultimately, this collaborative effort between foster parents and GAL volunteers can enhance the chances of a positive outcome and help children quickly find a safe and permanent home.
Volunteer GALs are trained to become the voice of a child in Family Court proceedings. They listen to a child’s wishes and share those with the Family Court.
The free, 30-hour volunteer GAL training teaches volunteers about the Family Court system, how to recognize abuse and neglect and how to communicate with children, foster parents and every party involved in the case. For more information about training and how to become a GAL volunteer, visit gal.sc.gov or call (843) 383-2333.