DADI Blog

Guardian Ad Litem

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

A child is sitting in the courtroom while a thousand things are going on at once.  Being questioned one minute and the next no one listens when you say a word.  There’s also the confusing motions and language coming out of everyone’s mouths and everyone always staring at you.  This is what it’s like for a young child to be in a courtroom.  They have no idea what’s going on or what’s going to happen to them, most probably think they are in trouble.  The child would then get sent off somewhere that he had no say in and would be lost forever.  This would be the case if not for guardian ad litems, these are advocates of the child. 

The guardians are the ears and eyes for the child that is in the courtroom.  The children in these situations have never done anything wrong and aren’t in trouble, but most feel like they are.  The guardians help them with this and tell the child what’s going on and help them with answers.  The guardian’s job is to befriend the child and gain their trust.  The guardians are going to be advocates of the child’s voice in the courtroom.  They talk to the child and help them understand the mess of the courtroom and keep the child from being overwhelmed by the situation.  They also convey what the child has to say, since most adults will only listen to adults this is a good psychological tool. 

Guardians in some cases have to be specialists in their fields, other times it’s up to civilian volunteers to help with the children.  Every state has a site where you can go and get information on becoming a guardian ad litem.  You’ll be helping children that have been abused in some way and help calm the child and convey their messages.  Being a guardian ad litem is very hard and you must take it seriously, a child’s life is with you.  This is why sometimes the guardian is appointed by the state and is a specialist in their field.  They have experience in dealing with children under certain situations and can most help the child out of them.  There’s always room for more volunteer guardians though, most states need them badly.  Do a quick search on the internet to find your states website about how to join up and become a guardian ad litem.

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