GALs neededWhen the Department of Children and Families seeks to take a child into custody, Vermont law requires the court to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL). 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. 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. The need is especially great in Orleans, Franklin, Grand Isle, Caledonia, Lamoille and Essex counties.
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. The GAL’s goal is to ensure the child has a safe, stable and permanent home as quickly as possible.
No prior experience in the courts or the child welfare system or specialized education is required to serve in this GAL 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. The program’s next training will be virtual, beginning Jan. 24, 2022.
Visit www.vermontjudiciary.org/GAL for more information, 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.
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