Guardian ad Litem program in need of more volunteers

COUNTY — Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Dave Turner represents all that is good about the South Carolina Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem program.

Andrea Vazquez  and Dave Turner

Andrea Vazquez
and Dave Turner

Every child in foster care deserves a Guardian like Dave. The program needs more volunteers to advocate for the more than 6,000 children involved in pending abuse and neglect cases statewide.

Please take a moment and read Andrea Vazquez’s story and consider volunteering to be the voice of a child as a court appointed advocate.

“At 12 years of age, I came to the United States,” Vazquez said. “Due to extreme abuse at home, I entered the foster care system at the age of 14, where I remained until I was almost 18 years old.

“Throughout my journey in foster care, I was appointed a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to be my voice and to advocate for my best interests. The first time I met my GAL, I did not try to remember his name. I thought that he was just another random person that I would never see again. I was wrong. My GAL, Dave Turner, was with me for three and a half years. Dave was a life saver. My academics suffered that first year in foster care. I was ridiculed by my peers. Dave would visit me at school and encourage me. He listened to me and let me vent my frustrations. Dave also kept me informed about what was happening in my case and made sure that my needs were met.

“As my eighteenth birthday neared, Dave encouraged me to remain in the system to go to college. He told me not to dwell on the past and to move forward because I could be anything I wanted to be. My GAL changed the outcome of my life because he advocated for me and my legal status in this country. Now, I am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. Dave Turner seemed to fix my problems. He believed in me and helped me understand that I could become a better person. Dave was ‘my somebody when I had nobody.’

“I am very fortunate to have had a volunteer Guardian ad Litem who cared about me because that made my journey through the system easier. I was never a number to Dave.

“It was not until many years later that I realized Dave was never paid a dime for anything he did for me. It was just unbelievable to me that someone would care enough to generously spend their time advocating for my childhood and life. Forever, I will be grateful to Dave Turner, my Guardian ad Litem. Thank you, Dave, for making my life better and for being my somebody.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Cass Elias Guardian ad Litem Program, call (864) 878-0807 or visit