Q. What does the term "Guardian Ad Litem" mean?
A. Literally, "guardian for the case" -- in this instance, for the child. These volunteers are appointed by the court. The Guardian Ad Litem is the only way that the child's best interest can be represented in court.
Q. When is a Guardian Ad Litem appointed?
A. When the Department Of Social Services (DSS) removes a child from his/her home as a result of abuse or neglect, they file a petition to do so with the Clerk Of Court. At this point, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed to represent the best interests of the child.
Q. What powers does a Guardian Ad Litem have?
A. The Guardian Ad Litem is appointed by a judge and has unlimited powers to access all information about the child and his/her family in an effort to determine what is going to be best for the child. The GAL may recommend, for example, that the child be returned to the family, placed in long-term foster care, or presented for adoption.
Q. What is the goal of the Guardian Ad Litem program?
A. The goal is to have each child in a safe, permanent, caring home within 2 years.
Q. How does one volunteer?
A. See the Volunteering web page.