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Guardian ad Litem seeks volunteers

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In 2010, more than 9,000 South Carolina children were abused or neglected by their own families. The actual figure is probably much higher, as this number represents only those children involved in the family court system. There are cases of abuse or neglect in every county of the state.
As caring and concerned citizens, we must do everything in our power to protect and nurture these vulnerable children. S.C. law requires a volunteer guardian ad litem be appointed for any child whose family is involved with the Department of Social Services through the family court system.
In 2010, more than 2,500 South Carolina citizen volunteers met the challenge and worked as advocates for these children. Their reasons are admirable – they believe every child should have an adult to listen to them and help guide them to a safe and secure future. That is the mission of our program and every person who volunteers as a guardian ad litem.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. The recognition of abuse and neglect of our nation’s children was an important first step. But 27 years later, it is still a crisis in our country. Nationwide, about 3.3 million allegations of child abuse and neglect involving 6 million children were made to child protective service agencies in 2008. It is unthinkable that we allow children to endure the horrors of abuse, and fail to give them the protection they deserve.
It is imperative that we all take responsibility to ensure each child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe, loving and nurturing home. One way you can help is to join the more than 2,000 volunteers in South Carolina who stand up to be a child’s voice.
Please contact your Lancaster County office at (803) 286-6064 to get involved and be a positive difference in the future of a child.

Paula W. Lance
Circuit coordinator, Guardian ad Litem