Maui Volunteers Wanted to Help Child Abuse Victims in Court

The Second Circuit Family Court (Maui) needs volunteers to represent the best interests of a child who is a victim in a child abuse or neglect case.

The child’s advocate, called a VGAL, acts as an independent fact-finder who plays a vital role by keeping the court informed of the child’s well being and the progress of services provided to the child and his or her family.

Volunteers must complete a five-day training program to be eligible to serve as a VGAL. Applicants are currently being recruited for the next training program. Classes will be held in Wailuku on May 19, 21, 24, 26 and 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

VGALs must complete the entire training program, pass a criminal history check and child abuse registry inquiry, be at least 20 years old, and able to devote at least four hours a month on a child’s case.

Over 100 new child abuse and neglect cases were filed in Maui County in 2009.

“We have a greater need for more Volunteer Guardians Ad Litem due to the increasing caseload and the impact budgetary cutbacks have had on Family Court resources,” said Family Court Judge Geronimo Valdriz, Jr. “Nevertheless, the Judiciary is committed to ensuring that children in child abuse and neglect Court proceedings continue to have a court advocate and is proactively seeking to increase its pool of trained volunteer guardians ad litem.”

The Family Court’s VGAL program is accredited by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) organization.

For more information or to obtain an application, contact the Judiciary’s Special Services Branch at 244-2729.

Contact:

Marsha Yamada, Program Services Unit
Family Court, 244-2784

Marsha Kitagawa, Public Affairs Office
Hawaii State Judiciary, 539-4909

For more information, contact the public affairs office at 808-539-4909 or via email at pao@courts.state.hi.us.

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