NEWBERRY — In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program is issuing a call to action for residents of Newberry County to stand against child abuse and take action to support children who have suffered abuse or neglect.
The Newberry County Guardian ad Litem program currently serves more than 43 children.
“The needs of children served by GAL are more complicated than ever before,” said Jane Doolittle, county coordinator. “Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent adult trained to help them heal and thrive.”
Throughout April, the GAL program is calling on members of the community to help serve the most vulnerable children. Free training to become a GAL volunteer starts now.
On average, a child with a GAL volunteer to advocate on his or her behalf will leave the foster care system two-and-a-half months earlier than a child without a GAL volunteer. Studies show children who are assigned a GAL volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well-being than children without an advocate. Additionally, children who have GAL volunteers are more likely to achieve educational success.
“GAL volunteers are a constant for the child in a time of chaos,” said Doolittle. “A child may have multiple social workers, attorneys, therapists and foster placements throughout the life of the case, but the child will likely only have one GAL volunteer, which can make all the difference.”
The Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program is a member of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association. National CASA is a nationwide network of programs in nearly 1,000 communities. In Newberry, there are 14 volunteer advocates fighting for the best interests of more than 43 children, but many more volunteers are needed.
For more information about training and how to become a GAL volunteer, visit www.SCGAL.org or call 803-768-8427.