GAL 15B October E-news

    GAL DISTRICT 15B | Orange and Chatham counties

be the voice

Message from the District Administrator


Working with Parents

The parents of children in foster care often have complex, stressful lives and many have their own traumatic histories. We ask that you approach parents with kindness and empathy, but to always keep the child’s best interest as a primary focus. It’s not always as easy as it seems.


Here are some suggestions that we discussed at a recent brown bag lunch.


  • Make sure you are aware of the implied power differential between you and the parent.
  • Shame and guilt are not positive factors in behavior change. Actively look for strengths.
  • Don't argue or debate with parents.  Ask open ended questions and actively listen.
  • Avoid using contact with the child as an incentive or punishment.
  • Encourage parents to talk with their attorneys if they have legal questions or complaints.

Nicole Roman
District Administrator

Welcome New GALs!

swearing in
Swearing In September 21, 2017


Eight new GAL Advocates were sworn in during September and October in Orange County.  Welcome to:

  • Max K
  • Becky L
  • Lies S
  • Lynn N
  • Beril S
  • Tonesha C
  • Emilee D
  • Josh R

Thinking About Parents

While our focus as GALs is on the best interest of the child, thinking about the challenges faced by parents provides a nuanced perspective that can be helpful when making recommendations.  The links below provide food for thought:

Are parents who live in poverty held to an unrealistic standard of parenting?

Is the goal of foster care to assist families or to punish them?

The impact of parental depression on parenting:

DSS from a parent's perspective:

Beyond the Bench Podcast About Guardian ad Litem

“Beyond the Bench” is a podcast about the legal system produced by the North Carolina Judicial College at the UNC School of Government. It is interview-based, with guests including judges, lawyers, professors, and citizens who have participated in court proceedings. Some interviews focus on guests’ personal experiences and opinions, while others explore discrete legal issues. The podcast is organized by season, with each season focused on a particular type of case.

Season 2 covers child abuse and neglect and DSS court.  Here is a link to the session on the role of the GAL.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to see links to other episodes:

GAL Best Practice Tips

Draft Orders:  Reviewing draft court orders is an important part of GAL advocacy.  When you receive draft orders by email, please look carefully at the orders of the court found on the last page of the document.  You will want to make sure that these orders reflect your understanding of what the judge actually ordered.  If there are any corrections needed, please let Karen Davidson and your case supervisor know right away by email, as there is a very small window of time (a day or two) to send in corrections.

Court Reports:  Sending multiple versions of your court report to your GAL supervisor can cause confusion and result in the wrong report being sent out to attorneys.  To avoid this, please send only one version of your report to your supervisor.  She will get back to you with any suggestions.  At that time, the two of you should agree who will input any changes.  When either of you make changes it is helpful to highlight them, so that you can both see what has changed. 

Court Reminders

  • Please let your supervisor know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend your court hearing.
  • Remember to silence your cell phone.
  • In Chapel Hill, if there is a court recess, please give the attorneys the priority for the restrooms.                                         
  • Please wear business casual attire (no jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, shorts, revealing clothes, or clothes with slogans).


GAL Calendar

December 8, 2:00-6:00 GAL afternoon of relaxation in Hillsborough.  Details to follow by email.

Watch your email for an invitation to our annual holiday party to be held in December!


Celebrating Permanence

In the first six months of 2017, 50 children achieved permanence. Thank you, GALs, for your time, dedication, and contributions to making permanence a reality for these children.

  • 17 children were reunified with their parents,
  • 20 children were adopted, and
  • Custody or guardianship of 13 children was awarded.

Happy Birthday

Best wishes to our GALs with October birthdays!

  • Steph Y
  • Lynn N
  • Whitney S
  • Suzy A
  • Kathy H
  • Donna S
  • Erin A
  • Susy S
  • Stephanie D
  • Beth A

        GAL Mission

        The mission of the GAL program is to provide trained independent advocates to represent and promote the best interests of abused, neglected, and dependent children in the state court system, and to work towards a plan that ensures that these children are in a safe permanent home.

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