Make a Difference
The Lewis County GAL Program is a member program of Washington State CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). Volunteers from all walks of life are trained to do an independent investigation and advocate for children going through dependency court. The volunteer speaks with those involved in the child's life, such as parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, counselors, etc. in order to gather information and make recommendations to the judge as to the best interests of the child. Parents and Social Workers have attorneys to speak on their behalf, but the children need a voice to speak up for them. The GAL gets to know the child and determines what they believe to be in the child's best interest regarding where they live and who they live with. The judge then makes an informed decision on placement, services, and ultimately whether the child should be returned to the parent or another plan should be pursued. This website has even more detailed information about the role of a GAL, CASA and the local programs.
1,000 in 2020
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News & Blog
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Shari Watt- Current GAL Voulnteer
I work in a small school district in our county. Several years ago, I became aware of the GAL program. It tugged at my heart, but I wasn't sure if being a GAL would really be helpful. I talked to a couple of different foster students in my school. I told them what I was thinking about doing but wondered if their GALs made any difference in their lives. If not, I didn't want to waste my time. One girl's reply stuck with me. She told me "I love my GAL. I can tell her anything and I know that she listens to me!" The other student, who had recently moved to us from another county, didn't think he had a GAL. (I later learned that the term CASA is used more often in other counties.) When he realized that they were the same, he assured me that his CASA/GAL made a big difference in his life. I decided to go through with the training and am so happy that I did. Sometimes, I find that placements change and SWs change...and that the child's GAL might be the only consistent person in their life.