Guardian ad Litem Program - Palm Beach County
What is a Guardian ad Litem?
A Guardian ad Litem is a court appointed, trained volunteer who advocates for the best interest of an abused, abandoned or neglected child. Many of the children have been removed from their home and are with relatives, friends, or in foster care. Together with the support and guidance of the GAL staff and GAL attorneys, GAL Volunteers strengthen the voice of the child and ensure they do not become lost in the system.
What does a Guardian ad Litem do?
What are the qualifications to become a Guardian ad Litem?
Is there training and who will assist me if I need help?
If I’m employed full-time, can I still be a Guardian ad Litem?
Yes, many GAL Volunteers have full-time commitments. Much of the GAL work can be done over the phone, after hours, and weekends. Generally, you will have advanced notice regarding court dates. The average monthly commitment for a case is 10-15 hours, approximately 2-3 hours per week. If you have concerns regarding your time commitment, feel free to discuss them with one of the GAL staff members.
What if I’m a ‘snow bird’?
We have many ‘snow bird’ volunteers. There is a support system within the GAL Program to address these needs and provide advocacy and court representation in your absence.
What is the time commitment for a Guardian ad Litem volunteer?
Will I be involved in court proceedings?
Yes and your training will prepare you with the knowledge and confidence needed to effectively write reports and offer your recommendations to the Court. During your training you will observe court sessions where other GAL Volunteers are advocating on a child’s behalf. You will always have your GAL Volunteer Supervisor to help you with any cases or concerns and a Guardian ad Litem Attorney will always be with you in court.
What about my safety?
Your safety is always top priority. We will never ask you to go anywhere or do anything that might jeopardize your safety. As you would normally do, use good common sense and take reasonable precautions when making decisions. You will learn in training who to contact and who you can work with if you encounter a situation or location in which you feel uncomfortable.
May I take a child to a movie or other outing?
Volunteers may be approved to transport children on a case-by-case basis after a submission of a written statement of intent and approval by the Circuit Director and executive office staff.
Are there other ways I can volunteer to help children without taking a case?
Yes, there are many ways that you can help the Guardian ad Litem Program and in turn help children. To learn more about non-advocate opportunities in the GAL Program, please call the GAL office at 561-355-6224. To get involved with Speak Up for Kids (a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization providing financial support to the PBC GAL Program) click here.
What if I have more questions?
Call our office at 561-355-6224.