Guardian AD LITEM/CASA
1 staff member, up to 20 volunteers
There are instances when a child needs to have representation in the court system. The Anaconda PCA Family Resource Center provides Guardian Ad Litem’s for the youngest of our clientele. The Guardian Ad Litem’s role is to provide advocacy services (in the court system) for abused, neglected and/or abandoned children. As can be expected, these services require a lot of time. Guardian Ad Litem’s are pro bono and their role includes investigating the case, attending meetings pertinent to the children, and providing input to and monitoring of the parents’ treatment plan.
The second oldest program of its kind in the state, the 3rd Judicial District CASA/GAL program is responsible for recruiting, training and supervising volunteers who act as court appointed child advocates in cases of abuse and neglect. By acting as court appointed advocates for children who have been removed from their homes, GAL volunteers act as the voice of the child—contributing to important decisions regarding the services and placement for the child. After speaking with the child, parents, family members, social workers, and others familiar with the child’s situation, GAL volunteers are able to prepare recommendations for the Judge regarding what action is in the best interest of the child.
GAL volunteers undergo over 30 hours of training before being sworn in as court advocates. They are required to attend 12 hours of continuing education training every year. Their volunteer position is time and labor intensive. However, the effect that they have on the lives of vulnerable local children is immeasurable. Over the years GAL volunteer efforts in court, behind the scenes and directly with children have been instrumental in the placement of hundreds of abused children in to permanent, loving homes.
What do CASA/GALS do?
GAL’S are appointed by the judge in abuse and neglect cases to advocate for the best interest of the child(ren).
They conduct an independent investigation of the case in order to submit reports to the judge regarding the placement of the child, services the child needs and actions to be taken by the parents.
They form a relationship with the child in order to continue to ascertain the needs of the child.
They act as an advocate from outside the system for these children who have been removed from their homes in order that the needs of the child are not forgotten or placed low on the priority list.
They help find permanent homes for these children as quickly as possible.
CASA/GUARDIAN AD LITEM program seeking volunteers
The CASA/GAL Program of Deer Lodge, Powell and Granite counties will be holding two informational meetings for individuals interested in learning about becoming CASA/GAL volunteers. The Kohrs Memorial Library in Deer Lodge will host an informational on March 16 at 6pm. Another informational meeting will be held at The Hearst Free Library in Anaconda on March 30 at 6pm. The program is currently recruiting volunteers to serve as advocates in those three counties. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)/GAL(Guardian Ad Litem) volunteers advocate for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. In order to train new volunteers, the CASA/Guardian Ad Litem program will be beginning a five week training session on April 10. Please register to attend an informational meeting by calling 563-7972 xt. 17 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
By acting as court appointed advocates for children who have been removed from their homes GAL volunteers contribute to judicial decisions about the placement of the children. After speaking with the child, parents, family members, social workers, and others familiar with the child’s situation, GAL volunteers are able to prepare recommendations for the Judge regarding what action is in the best interest of the child. Attendance at court proceedings and other case review meetings also contribute to the volunteer’s recommendations. CASA/GAL volunteers also take an active role in ensuring that the children’s needs are being met and that a permanent home is found for them as quickly as possible.
There are no educational or background requirements for those interested in volunteering. Volunteers must to be 21 years of age, willing to undergo a background check and participate in 30 hours of pre-service training. Volunteers must also have access to the internet in order to participate in the training. Good verbal and written skills are helpful as well as an ability to remain objective. GAL’s must be able to commit to the program for at least one year or until the case to which they are assigned is resolved.
For more information call Sue at 563 7972 xt 17.
Contact: Suzanne Konicek
Tel: 406.563.7972 xt. 17