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Children in the legal system need an adult to help out

MONTPELIER — When the Department for Children and Families seeks to take a child into their custody, Vermont law requires the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem, or GAL. GALs are volunteer, court-appointed special advocates who protect a child’s best interests in juvenile court cases that involve allegations of abuse or neglect.

A GAL works closely with the child’s attorney, meets with the child regularly, and gathers information from people involved in the child’s life to understand the child’s needs and to advocate for their best interests in court. The GAL’s goal is to ensure the child has a safe, stable and permanent home as quickly as possible.

Guardians ad Litem come from all walks of life, and no prior experience or education is required. Successful applicants must be compassionate, have a flexible schedule, pass a background check, and have reliable transportation and internet access. All GALs must complete 32 hours of training and a mentorship with an experienced GAL prior to being appointed to their own cases.

Right now there is an urgent need for GAL volunteers and too many children risk not having this essential support in their lives. 

For more information visit VermontJudiciary.org/GAL, email [email protected], or call 1-800-622-6359. The Judiciary welcomes volunteer candidates from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Apply today and be the positive difference in a child’s life! Training begins on May 8.

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