A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) 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. Their role is mandated by North Carolina General Statute 7B-601.
Throughout North Carolina, the Guardian ad Litem Program seeks to serve the best interests of thousands of children who find themselves the subjects of court cases by assigning them Guardian ad Litem volunteers. Our program exists in every county throughout the state, and with the help of more than 5,300 volunteers, we serve more than 18,000 children a year.
For more information about the program, view our fact sheet.
View Fact Sheet (PDF)
The GAL volunteer’s primary responsibilities include:
The main qualification for becoming a GAL is to have a sincere concern for the well-being of children. There are no education or experience requirements.
GAL volunteer advocates commit to spending at least 8 hours per month on a case, and cases usually take at least a year to be resolved. In order to apply, you need to complete an application, a screening interview, and a criminal record check. We also require 30 hours of training before being sworn in by a judge and appointed to a case. Our volunteers are supervised by program staff, and can attend continuing education trainings on advocacy issues.
For specific volunteer duties, view our volunteer job description.
View Job Description (PDF)