Yadkin County court officials have announced that North Carolina Judicial Branch will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Guardian ad Litem Program in 2018.
“We are honored to celebrate the Guardian ad Litem Program in Yadkin County and thank our citizens for volunteering,” said Chief District Court Judge David V. Byrd. “Our system of justice could not operate as it was intended without our volunteer Guardians ad Litem.”
“We have one of the strongest court-appointed special advocate programs in the country,” said Cindy Bizzell, administrator of the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem program. “The work of our volunteer GALs helps the court make the best decision possible in the lives of vulnerable North Carolina children.”
Established by statute in 1983, the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program has been serving abused and neglected children for 35 years.
Pursuant to North Carolina General Statute §7B-601, when a petition alleging abuse or neglect of a juvenile is filed in district court, the judge appoints a volunteer Guardian ad Litem advocate and an attorney advocate to provide team representation to the child, who has full party status in trial and appellate proceedings. All Guardian ad Litem advocates are trained, supervised, and supported by program staff in each county of the state. The collaborative model of GAL attorney advocates, volunteers, and staff ensures that all North Carolina children who are alleged by the Division of Social Services to have been abused or neglected receive GAL legal advocacy services.
North Carolina Guardian ad Litem equips and trains community volunteers to serve as independent court advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused and neglected children and youths by advocating for their best interests.