Becoming a Guardian Ad Litem is one of the most valuable things you can do in the life of an abused or neglected child or senior citizen. Often children in foster care fall through the cracks in an overburdened, understaffed system. Seniors living alone or with caregivers can also be easily taken advantage of. Guardian Ad Litem's offer hope and a voice to children and seniors currently in the court system.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Compassion for victims of abuse and neglect
- Personal time to give
- Attention to detail
Contact your county court house and ask about the volunteer advocacy program in your area.
Prepare to commit to at least 1 year in the program. Abuse and neglect cases can drag on for a long time, and consistency is important.
Ask the program coordinator in your area to send you all information necessary to become a Guardian Ad Litem or direct you to the proper forms on their website.
Fill out the application contained in the information received and provide all necessary documentation. You will need to provide personal information such as a valid driver's license, social security number and date of birth.
Set up an interview with the program coordinator. After the interview, necessary background checks will be completed.
Complete the Guardian Ad Litem training program. This program varies from state to state, but most are around 30 hours.
Understand that you will need to be available to complete tasks on schedule and attend all court hearings. Much of the work can be done in the evenings and on weekends, but court attendance is only during the week.
Tips and warnings
- If you are serious about becoming a Guardian Ad Litem, visit the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children) website. There you will find vital information about the role of the Guardian Ad Litem, the level of commitment necessary and links to programs in your area.
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