Commentary: Guardian ad Litem volunteers needed in Forsyth County

Commentary: Guardian ad Litem volunteers needed in Forsyth County
February 22
01:53 2018

The Guardian ad Litem program addresses children brought into the court system by the Department of Social Services and their need to have a voice in court.

The Guardian ad Litem program for Forsyth County will have a training class beginning on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, and run every Saturday thereafter, for five weeks. The classes will be held from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Forsyth County Hall of Justice.  This is a combined in-person and online training totaling 30 hours.

The Department of Social Services investigates reports of neglect and abuse made by the public. The Department determines if the children are not safe in their current environment and need to be removed from the home and placed with relatives, friends, or in foster care.

The volunteer Guardians ad Litem are appointed by a judge’s order to advocate for the needs of the children in care. These volunteers investigate the educational, physical and psychological needs of the children, identify resources, communicate with the social workers and report to the judge, making recommendations for the best interest of the children. This work takes five to eight hours a month at a minimum.

In order to become a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) advocate, an interested person fills out an online application, has their criminal history and references checked, and completes an interview with the Guardian ad Litem staff.

After training, a GAL is sworn in by a district court judge to advocate for children. The program currently has a total of 90 volunteers, but there is an ongoing need for volunteers to support their community in this way.

Forsyth County currently has 39 children without GAL volunteer advocates.

I am a Forsyth County native and I have been named the new district administrator for the NC Courts District 21 Guardian ad Litem program encompassing Forsyth County. I replace Linda Devine, who retired in December 2017. I will oversee the Guardian ad Litem staff and volunteers appointed by district judges to monitor the care and future of local abused and neglected children involved in the foster care system. My first focus is recruitment of new volunteers.  For information on the new training class that begins on March 27, call 336-779-6650 or go to

Sherita Cain is the Guardian ad Litem district administrator for District 21, based in Winston-Salem.

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