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The mission of the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program is to provide trained independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system and to work towards a plan that ensures that these children are in a safe permanent home.
The North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) was established by the General Assembly in 1983 to provide trained, independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected and dependent children in the court system. When the Department of Social Services files a petition alleging abuse or neglect, the GAL Program is appointed to represent the child; the judge has the discretion to appoint GAL in dependency cases.
The term Guardian ad Litem is Latin for "during a lawsuit." In some states, this volunteer may also be referred to as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).