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Guardians ad Litem make difference

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By Blondean Funderburk

Imagine police taking you from your home in the middle of the night. Imagine that you cannot pack any of your clothes and that you are left in a place you have never seen. In this place, you are given strange foods. All the rules are different.   

Now imagine that you are only 6 and the reason that you had to leave your home is because your parents have been hitting you and each other.

Children caught in the world of child abuse or neglect are often victimized twice. They are first hurt by the abusers and then suffer again because they must be removed from everything familiar to them.  

You can help these innocent victims. In South Carolina, through the Office of the Governor, the Guardian ad Litem program recruits, trains and supervises volunteer child advocates. These advocates have no agenda other than helping a child find a safe, permanent home. As the volunteer guardian independently investigates the facts of a case, he or she becomes a friend to the child. The guardian makes recommendations to family court regarding the child’s best interest and tries to ensure that the treatment put into place will create a safer family when the child returns home.    

For children who have lost so much that is familiar to them, having an advocate who is consistent and caring makes a big difference.

Why not make a commitment to changing a child’s future for the better in 2009?

It is not hard to begin. Lancaster County will begin a training session Feb. 23 and space is limited. Call 286-6064 today to reserve a seat in the class.

There is no better gift that you can give a child than your precious time.

Become a volunteer Guardian ad Litem and help children who have been abused or neglected find what every child deserves – a safe, loving home.