Any adult who, in the opinion of the court, possesses the objectivity and commitment to gather the information necessary to make recommendations in the best interests of a child victim.
The GALs: Who they are and what they do.
A volunteer Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a person just like you, trained by CASA to protect a child's interests throughout the judicial process. Volunteers have varying educational and professional backgrounds, and bring diverse experiences and interests to their volunteer duties. They do, however, share at least one characteristic - they want to help a child in need. A child who is frightened. A child whose voice deserves to be heard.
The responsibilities and duties of a GAL are to:
- Develop relationships with children who have been maltreated;
- Investigate the child's situation by talking to relevant parties in the case;
- Advocate for the welfare and rights of the child;
- Attend court on the child's behalf, submitting reports with recommended treatment and services;
- Inform the court of the child's wishes;
- Monitor compliance with the orders of the court.
- Protect and promote the best interests of the child until formally relieved by the court.
More about the duties..
All told this group of GALs gives over 42,000 hours per year to these children. Calculated by the national average cost for volunteer services, RC CASA contributes close to $1 million annually to the children of Richland County.
How do I become a volunteer?
Volunteers are sought from diverse educational, cultural, and professional backgrounds.
- A Guardian is an individual who is at least 21 years of age and has successfully passed screening and training requirements.
- A Guardian is required to commit to Richland County CASA for a minimum of 18 months.
- A Guardian must have access to transportation.
- A Guardian must visit each individual child at a minimum of once each month until the case closes.
- A Guardian must keep in contact with the CASA office on a frequent basis.
- A Guardian must attend all court hearings.
- A Guardian must submit a report to the CASA office prior to all hearings.
- A Guardian must attend 12 hours of additional In-Service training on an annual basis to keep Guardian status.
In addition all applicants interested in becoming a Guardian ad Litem we also require the following:
- Fill out and complete an application containing information about educational background & training, employment & volunteer history, and experience working with children and 3 references of persons unrelated to applicant. Download volunteer application.
- Complete a one page autobiography. Download autobiography form.
- Authorize CASA to secure a Central Registry Check & a SLED criminal background check Download SLED check form and Download CPS check form.
- Set up an appointment to participate in a personal interview(s) with the Volunteer Manager at (803) 576-1655.
- Attend 30 hours of pre-service training.
- Provide a copy of a drivers license.
- Attend a court observation.
- Attend a Swearing-In Ceremony by a Family Court Judge and sign a Volunteer Agreement upon the completion of training.
- Complete the Responsibilities of a Volunteer form. Download Responsibilities of a Volunteer form.
- Complete the Transportation Policy. Download the Transportation Policy form.
- Submit three Letters of Recommendation from individuals unrelated to the applicant. Download the Letter of Recommendation form.
- Utilize this Volunteer Check-off Sheet to keep track of the application process. Download the Volunteer Check-off Sheet.
Applications are accepted year round. Please contact Dante Roberts at (803) 576-1655 for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Online Casa Independent Study Manual
Studies show that the presence of one stable, supportive adult in a child's life can profoundly impact that child's future!