The mission of the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program is to "Be A Voice For The Children In Our Community".
Last fiscal year almost 15,000 children interacted with the child welfare system across the state of North Carolina. Parents in those situations were represented by attorneys. However, children in those situations were represented by the Guardian ad Litem Program. This representation is a legal team model, with a community volunteer and an attorney advocate. This team supports children as they navigate the dependency court system. The Guardian ad Litem gives a voice to abused and neglected children. This is captured in the program’s mission statement, "Be A Voice For The Children In Our Community".
The role of the volunteer advocate is to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children and youth. They represent the child’s best interest in court. Volunteer advocates also promote a safe and permanent home for children, amongst many other things. A Guardian ad Litem volunteer advocate focuses entirely on the child, advocating for services, recommending community resources, and being the child’s voice in court.
Although thousands of volunteer advocates are currently serving children across the state, many more volunteers are needed in various locations across the state - especially in rural areas. This will address the 2000 children still needing a volunteer.