April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and April 19th thru April 25th is National Volunteer Appreciation Week. Normally this month would be full of public awareness and volunteer recognition events for the 19th Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program (GALP). However, with the current global pandemic of the COVID19 virus looming large and a new normal settling in, things are going to be a little different. While we will not be hosting any group events this month, the core of our mission will continue. We will continue to advocate for abused, abandoned and neglected children within the court system and in their communities. We will do this as we always have through a partnership of professional staff and volunteers.
The children we work for didn’t have a choice to enter the child welfare system, and sadly, the emotional and financial stress caused by the current crises will most likely result in an increase of children needing a Guardian ad Litem to advocate for them. Advocating for children is not easy or simple, but it can be a life altering experience for the children and their volunteers. We know that children with a Guardian ad Litem are more likely to do well in school and more likely to be placed in a safe, loving, permanent home more quickly than a child without a Guardian ad Litem.
Guardian ad Litem volunteers come from every walk of life and every part of our community. All of them came to the GALP with their own skills and knowledge based on their own life experience. We took those skills, knowledge and experience and enhanced it with 30 hours of pre-service training. This training is traditionally conducted through a combination of online training, classroom training and field training. Due to the current situation, we have begun using an entirely online multimedia training experience.
We need volunteers like you now more than ever and you can help these children. Please consider becoming a volunteer Guardian ad Litem today.
You can learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program by visiting our website at Guardian19.org.
If you are ready to make a commitment to advocate for children, please call Nicole Hughes at 707-653-6380. The Guardian ad Litem program is helping children reach home through heartfelt advocacy!