Guardians ad litem can make a big difference

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Kathy White of Barton has been a guardian ad litem for nearly eight years and says it’s a rewarding experience.  Photo by Tena Starr

Kathy White of Barton has been a guardian ad litem for nearly eight years and says it’s a rewarding experience. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle July 2, 2014

by Tena Starr

BARTON — Nearly eight years ago, Kathy White of Barton decided she’d like to “pay it forward,” as she put it. “I wanted to find something I could do that had meaning,” she said in a recent interview.

That desire led her to become a guardian ad litem, or a GAL, a person who volunteers his or her time to represent the interests of “children in need of care or supervision” (CHINS).

That could involve anything from a nasty divorce to a situation where a family can’t properly care for a child anymore. The Guardian Ad Litem Program’s mission statements says its goal is to make sure that children and their families receive “appropriate services in a timely manner; that case plans and court decisions are based on the child’s best interests; and every child has a safe, stable and permanent home within a reasonable period of time.”

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