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Volunteer

Do I need to have any special skills or experience to be a GAL?

No special background or education is required to become a GAL volunteer. Once accepted into the initial 35 hour training you will learn the basics of the GAL job including the needs of abused and neglected children, understanding families, and courtroom procedures. When you begin your first case you’ll get on the job training with consistent support from the Program Coordinator.

Minimum Requirements

  • At least 21 years old
  • Minimum education: high school diploma or GED
  • Fluent in spoken and written English
  • Criminal background check
  • Successful completion of the 35 hour free training program
  • Commit at least one year to the program
  • Basic word processing/email skills and regular accessibility to a computer

How Much Time Does it Take to Do the GAL. Job?

The time commitment to a case varies depending upon the stage of the case. Volunteers sometimes say that there is a greater amount of work in the beginning of the case, when they are conducting their initial research. Volunteers vary in how much time they spend on a case, but you should expect to spend an average of at least 15 hours a month on a case; volunteers find that some months require far more than 15 hours, while others require far less.

Exactly What Does a GAL Volunteer Do?

A GAL typically handles no more than three cases at a time—and commits to stay on each case until the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. While others may come and go, GAL volunteers provide the one constant that children need in order to thrive.

The primary responsibilities of a GAL are:

  • Gather information: Review documents and interview people relevant to the child’s safety and welfare.
  • Monitor case plans and court orders: Check to see that plans are being followed. This requires consistent communication with the individuals and agencies central to the child’s well being.
  • Speak up for the child: Attend meetings regarding the child's health, education, mental health, etc.
  • Appear in court: Prepare written reports to update the judge on the child’s progress and needs.
  • Recommend services: Speak out so the child and family receive the help they need.
  • Be an active team member: Stay connected with the child, family members, service providers and G.A.L. coordinator.
  • Keep learning: Stay up to date with continuing trainings.

What Kind of Support Will I Receive?

You will be supported every step of the way. No matter how many years they’ve been volunteers, the GALs know they can always access the program coordinator for consultation, support and information.

You will also be provided with clear and practical training, including the National CASA initial core training and our monthly local opportunities for free continuing education. You will have access to online resources provided by National and Washington State CASA, including a resource library, national Facebook community and national and state conferences.

I’d like to apply but I’m not sure this will be a good fit. How will I know?

This could be a good fit if:

  • You want to focus on a volunteer job that is challenging and significant
  • You are ready to take action and make a difference in the life of a child
  • You are ready to be part of an organization that values hard work and integrity
  • You are willing to learn new skills and information
  • You are a self-starter who is also a good team player
  • You are generous with your heart, your time and your energy
  • You are willing to be patient with the slow process of the court... because a child’s life is important to you.

Can I help the GAL program in other ways?

Definitely! We need help with office work, fundraising, special events, and more. Please contact the Program Coordinator for more information and some creative brainstorming about how you can fit into our program: 360-385-9190, adean@co.jefferson.wa.us

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