Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

All About the North Carolina GAL Program

Interested in serving as a Guardian Ad Litem or pro bono counsel for a child in need? If so, the NC Guardian Ad Litem program wants you.

The program, a division of the N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, was established in 1983 to provide trained GALs for children in abuse or neglect proceedings. Unfortunately, the need for GALs is greater than the supply. 

“The NC GAL Program recruits volunteers continually,” writes Michelle FormyDuval Lynch, a Staff Attorney at the NC GAL Program State Office, in this post on the NCBA Blog. “Many districts do not have enough volunteer GALs to meet the demand. The NC GAL Program pro bono appellate program always welcomes attorneys who are interested in or practice appellate litigation and/or child welfare law.”

For more information, visit the Guardian ad Litem page on the North Carolina Judicial Branch website. To volunteer as a GAL or pro bono attorney, sign up here

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FAQs About the NC Guardian Ad Litem Program

  • What is it? A Guardian ad Litem is a trained volunteer appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of an abused or neglected child.
  • When is the GAL program called in? When a petition alleging child abuse, neglect, or dependency is filed by the Department of Social Services.
  • Who can be a GAL? Guardian ad Litem volunteers come from all walks of life and have a variety of professional, educational and ethnic backgrounds. No special education or experience is required, but not all candidates are accepted as volunteers due to the rigor of the program and the sensitive nature of working with children. The volunteer process includes an application, criminal background check, and screening interview, as well as training.
  • Will I Be Trained? The state uses a nationally recognized training program. GAL volunteers are supervised by an experienced staff member who can offer assistance at any time. Attorney advocates attend court sessions and are available for legal counsel.
  • Can I volunteer part-time? Much of the work can be done on weekends or evenings, by phone or email. GALs must personally appear for court dates (every three to six months, depending on the case).


SOURCE: Guardian ad Litem | North Carolina Judicial Branch (


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About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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