Judiciary seeks volunteers to join guardian ad litem program

When the Department of Children and Families seeks to take a child into custody, Vermont law requires the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. GALs are volunteer, court-appointed special advocates who protect children’s best interests in these juvenile court cases, which usually involve allegations of abuse or neglect.

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A GAL works closely with a child’s attorney, meets with the child regularly, and gathers information from people involved in the child’s life to understand the child’s needs and advocate for their best interests in court. A guardian ad litem’s goal is to ensure the child has a safe, stable and permanent home as quickly as possible.

GALs come from all walks of life, and no prior experience in the courts or the child welfare system or specialized education is required to serve in this vital role.

Successful applicants must be compassionate, have a flexible schedule, pass a background check, and have reliable transportation and internet access. All GALs must complete 32 hours of training and a mentorship with an experienced GAL prior to being appointed to their own case.

Right now there is a desperate need for volunteers and too many children risk not having this essential support in their lives that an experienced GAL can provide.

For more information click here, email JUD.VermontGAL@vermont.gov or call 800-622-6359. The Vermont Guardian ad Litem Program is an equal opportunity volunteer program, actively encouraging applicants of all backgrounds.

The program’s next training will be virtual, beginning on Jan. 24, 2022.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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