Guardians Ad Litem, more often known as Court Appointed Special Advocates, exist to represent the interests of children. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) provide a voice in court to individuals including minors, the mentally ill, and the disabled. Individuals that can act as a Guardian Ad Litem range from volunteers to mental health professionals, and requirements vary on a state-by-state basis. These individuals act as the voice for children in need.
Abuse or neglect
The most common use for a Guardian Ad Litem is in scenarios of neglect or abuse. When a minor is involved in an abuse-related hearing, a Guardian Ad Litem represents their best interests in court. Guardians Ad Litem often times form a relationship with these children, and help to shed light on the scenario and provide adequate information in the child’s interest while in court.
Child Custody Disputes
In South Carolina, if the parents are arguing about who will have custody of their children, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for the children. By doing so, the court gives the children a voice during the divorce process.
When a child is being adopted, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to insure that the adoption is in the best interest of the adopted child.
Court Appointed Special Advocates
The idea of Court Appointed Special Advocates was conceived in the 1970’s when a judge felt that there was not sufficient enough information surrounding a minor’s case in order to make a crucial decision. From there, the idea that citizen volunteers could speak on the behalf of abused children in court was born. Today, more than 77,000 volunteers act to save the lives of children every year. Court Appointed Special Advocates range from volunteers to social workers and other mental health professionals.
Guardian ad litem success
How do Guardians Ad Litem help children? Children that are supported by GALs or CASAs are more likely to be adopted, less likely to spend long periods of time in foster care or even to re-enter foster care in the first place, and more likely to be successful in school. Having a caring adult act on a child’s behalf, especially in the case of abuse or neglect, goes a long way in positively impacting a child’s future.
Becoming a volunteer
Guardians Ad Litem are not alone in their volunteering endeavor. Guardians often times undergo several hours of training prior to and during his or her guardianship. Guardians are also welcomed into a strong support system and often times form a team to help advocate for children.
There are many other ways to support the same children that GALs support without actually being a Guardian Ad Litem. One way is by becoming active in non-profit organizations that support Guardian Ad Litem funding. Another is to join your local GAL or CASA Association. Private corporations may also become partners and contribute to funding. Finally, you could help by practicing your democratic right and appeal to elected officials about the importance of court support programs for unrepresented minors. As with any other non-profit organization, donations of any size go a long way in ensuring a child a successful future.
Klow Law’s representatives are to help you if you need a South Carolina Guardians Ad Litem. We are available to act as Guardian Ad Litem in your adoption or child custody case if you are already represented by other counsel. For more information give Klok Law a call today.