It’s summertime and Ashe County’s children are out of school once again. It’s a great time for most children, but for those in abusive or neglectful homes, it can be a dangerous time because the extra eyes on them during the school year are not there.

Currently, Ashe has 46 abused and neglected children in foster care because they were not safe at home. That doesn’t count the many, many more children and families with whom DSS works to provide services to keep children out of foster care.

To help meet the needs, Guardian ad Litem volunteers speak for the children in court and help ensure their safety, health and best interests are at the forefront of any decisions made. Appointed by the judges to be their eyes and ears on the children. GALs visit the child once a month and monitor their case. They give the child a voice in the legal process as their parents try to repair their families.

Unfortunately, 10 of our 46 abused and neglected children are without GAL advocates.

Ashe County has 11 wonderful Guardians ad Litem who are working to make sure these children can have safe and happy homes permanently. Unfortunately even more volunteers are needed. National statistics show that children with a volunteer Guardian ad Litem reach permanent stability quicker than those who do not. The need is real. The rewards life-changing.

If you see this and realize you could do something to help the children as well, please go to www.volunteerforgal.org for information and to fill out an application.

Or if you have questions, call us in the GAL District Main Office at (336) 651-4421 or the Ashe/Alleghany County office at (336) 219-1421.

Tamara Lakey

Guardian ad Litem District administrator,

NC Courts D23 —

Alleghany/Ashe/Wilkes/Yadkin

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