What About Training?

A system of interactive training will be provided to qualify you as a Guardian ad Litem. The classes will be tailored around your schedule and most of the reading can be done on your own time. We will meet at your convenience, once or twice a week for an hour or so to discuss the material. The workbook will cover issues such as the history of, and the reasons for, the state to intervene in the family to protect children. You will also be exposed to the specifics of North Carolina Juvenile Laws and how reports of abuse and neglect are investigated and come to the attention of the court. Explanations of other players in the court system and how the GAL relates to them will also be covered.

Introduction

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Lynn.Dodge@nccourts.org

Court observation, which will follow the first session,  is most important in gaining an understanding of your role as an advocate for children.  While being in court may raise  questions for you that  will not have been answered at that point, your observation will prepare you to discuss advocacy and the Juvenile Court System at later  sessions of the training.

Observing Court

The child welfare system exists to protect children from the abuse and neglect.  Yet, studies have shown that removing children to protect them is potentially harmful.  Further, children who remain in the system for extended periods are at very high risk to suffer harm from the very system that exists to protect them.  You will be presented with challenging materials to help you understand how your advocacy can assist the system and challenge the court to make a timely decision to return the child to a home now made safe or to place the child in another safe home.

Advocacy

The units in this section of the training pertain  to performing your duties.  You will be asked to review several cases and examine how the case progressed to the eventual outcome.  You will be asked to plan how you would proceed if the case would be assigned to you.  These exercises will follow assignment  of an actual case which you will plan and investigate. This information will then be used to generate a written court report.  The final  units will deal with the support system available to assist you.

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Training Unit Content Performing as a GAL