By Ashlea Kosikowski | October 22, 2020 at 3:28 PM EDT – Updated October 22 at 4:58 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – The work to advocate for children continues during this pandemic.
In North Carolina, Guardian ad Litem provides abused, neglected, and dependent children with trained, independent volunteers who advocate for their best interests in the court system.
Jamie Robinson, a Guardian ad Litem Program Specialist in the 5th District GAL office that serves the children of New Hanover and Pender Counties, said the number of cases involving abused and neglected children has increased in recent months. She said the agency needs more volunteers to help.
“We’re always looking for volunteers,” she said. “Right now, we have about 170 active volunteers but we have about 450 kids. So if you put the math together that’s not one volunteer to one child. Some of our volunteers are taking two and three cases because we don’t have the volunteers that we need for the community and the volume that we have.”
Calisha Ford, a child advocate with Guardian ad Litem, said she finds it rewarding to be a volunteer with the group.
“It is very difficult but it’s rewarding,” she said. “I’ve only been volunteering for a little over a year and it’s already open my eyes to so much within this field. I want to go into social work, so this is definitely a great way to get my foot in the door. But also, it makes me feel very impactful within my community just because I’m here and I’m doing these work with these kids and I’m advocating for them. It can’t be a little difficult but the outcome is rewarding.”
Robinson said much of the volunteer work is done virtually, due to the pandemic. Visits with the children are conducted virtually and meetings with Guardian ad Litem staff and the Department of Social Services are also conducted remotely.
To learn more about the agency or to find out more about becoming a volunteer, click here.
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