Hernando County Children Need a Voice – Become a Guardian Ad Litem
HERNANDO – April is National Child Abuse Awareness Prevention Month and Diana Hollwedel, an Advocate Recruiter for the Guardian Ad Litem Program says they are in desperate need of volunteers.
A Guardian Ad Litem is a person appointed by the court to represent children who are involved in dependency court. If not for the program, a child’s voice may not be heard, leaving a child’s future solely in the hands of a Judge and squabbling attorneys.
Currently, Hernando County has approximately 250 children in dependency and the Guardian Ad Litem program only serves about 87% of those. Hollwedel wants that number to reach 100% but that would take recruiting a lot more volunteers.
Volunteers do not have to have a degree or any specialized training to become a Guardian Ad Litem, but they do have to pass a background check and complete a 30-hour certification program.
Most volunteers spend about 10-hours a month on a case; which includes, investigating a child’s family, facilitating a positive atmosphere, monitoring court procedures, and conveying the best interest of the child to relevant agencies.
Hollwedel says “It doesn’t matter if you are male, female, young, old, or if you have children – anyone can be a volunteer as long as you have a passion for helping children.”
For more information on how you can become a Guardian Ad Litem and be a voice for children, contact Diana Hollwedel at 352-812-6971. You can also visit their website at http://www.guardianadlitem.org/
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