Guardian ad Litem: The Importance of Child Advocacy

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alexis Hurd (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site:
Jessica Godsey, J.D.

Abstract: The thoughts and needs of children are often lost when they enter the justice system. In cases regarding child abuse and neglect, everyone tends to fixate on the court ordered services for the parent and the length of time until a child can return home. Of course, these aspects are important when reuniting families, but the child’s safety and level of care should be at the forefront of every case. Parents should not complete services for the sole purpose of getting their child back, but rather with the intention of bettering their future for their family. To ensure that children are returning to a home without abuse or neglect, the court should appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to advocate for these children. “A Guardian ad Litem advocate is a trained community volunteer who is appointed, along with a Guardian ad Litem attorney, by a district court judge to investigate and determine the needs of abused and neglected children petitioned into the court system by the Department of Social Services” (North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts, 2014). Guardian ad Litem is a program that varies from state to state (sometimes called Court Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA) and “works toward a plan that ensures that these children are in a safe, permanent home” (Goode & Kravitz, 2015). Although these cases can continue without the assistance of GAL, additional research supports that the presence of a GAL advocate not only improves the effectiveness of court proceedings, but it also improves the child’s well-being.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Esther G. Maynor Honors College
Language: English
Date: 2018
Guardian ad Litem Program, Child's Advocate in Court, Community Volunteers, Guardian ad Litem Attorney
Minors -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- North Carolina
Children's rights -- North Carolina
Children -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- North Carolina

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