Angels In Our Midst

Angels In Our Midst

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Angels In Our Midst (Guardian Ad Litem)

Updated: Tuesday, March 19 2013, 11:01 AM CDT
Jean Stout, Guardian Ad Litem Recruiter; "A Guardian Ad Litem advocates for the best interest of abused, neglected and abandoned children who are in the dependency system."

That "system" can be a scary and lonely place for a child whose life is already turned upside down. Then, the lucky ones are shrouded by the presence of a guardian angel.

Ann Davis, Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer; "I can sit with these three little girls. They know me and I've been in their homes, I've been in their schools. They're like family at this point."

These volunteers are part of the balance of the scales of justice. They give voice to the silent.

Tracy LeRoy, Guardian Ad Litem; "The parents have attorneys, the Department of Children and Families has attorneys. We try to provide advocacy and the legal voice for the children because often times, what they want or need is not often heard in court. So, we try to provide that."

The Guardians Ad Litem get 30 hours of training. They learn courtroom procedures and how to document their visits with the children in different settings. But, mostly, this job just requires a little fatherly instinct and mother wit.

Jean Stout, Guardian Ad Litem Recruiter; "A love for children, compassionate heart. To listen to their wants and needs and to be there for that child."

Ann; "A lot of tears are shed. It's a lot of hard work if you do it right. But, the rewards far outweigh any time and effort you put into it."

Rewarding days like this, after the sometimes long and difficult process of terminating parental rights, their children are getting new, loving families.

The Martin Sisters; "We was getting adopted by our aunts and we're very happy."

Tracy; "Helena has been with us since 2003. It's taken a long time to get to this going. So, it's worth it when you have this outcome. We're happy; can't be anything but happy."

But, there aren't enough of these angels to go around while they celebrate these happy endings. Many more children are waiting in silence.

Jean; "We have well over 200 children who still need a voice in court."

Ann; "The children need somebody to speak for them."Angels In Our Midst (Guardian Ad Litem)

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Washington Times