Could you step in and speak up for a neglected or abused child in court? Could you spare a few hours a week to help build a child's future?
If so, you could become a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. This year in Idaho, an increasing number of children will need someone to give them a voice and see that their best interests are served. In Fiscal Year 2008, the number of children in foster care reached 3,349. Unfortunately, only 49% of those children had a Guardian ad Litem to speak up for them in court.
A judge appoints a Guardian ad Litem in cases where a child has been abused or neglected to investigate the case, to make recommendations to the judge regarding a safe place or special services. You can champion an abused or neglected child and prevent them from suffering future harm.
If you would like to become a Guardian ad Litem, please contact the office nearest to you. Click here for a listing of Guardian ad Litem offices throughout the state.
Pro bono attorneys are essential to the GAL volunteer. Attorneys are asked to represent the volunteer Guardian ad Litem in all court proceedings, protect the rights of abused, abandoned and neglected children referred to the courts, participate in all negotiated settlements, and advocate for needed services to help victims heal from the trauma of abuse.
The pro bono attorney can obtain liability insurance through the Idaho Volunteer Lawyer's Program. The program will provide the attorney introductory training in Child Protection Act legal issues, a written packet of instructions regarding the GAL/CASA program, and the opportunity to consult with other pro bono attorneys and the GAL/CASA staff.
Contact the Idaho Volunteer Lawyers Program or your local GAL/CASA program for more information on how you can make a difference in the lives of children.
Guardians ad Litem (GALs), also known as Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), provide community volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children pursuant to statute. After a thorough investigation, the GAL volunteer prepares a report outlining the history of the case, the services that are available for the child and family, and ultimately, makes a recommendation about what is in the best interests of the child. Our judges use this and other information to make an informed decision and create better outcomes for abused and/or neglected children all across Idaho.
"Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
For more information:
Statewide GAL Coordinator
Idaho Supreme Court
P.O. Box 83720
451 W. State Street
Boise, ID 83720-0101
Ph: (208) 947-7458