WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — When children are victims of child abuse and neglect, one organization advocates for them in court and promoting their best interest. But, there’s a growing need for more volunteers.
Children are the backbone of our community and keeping our children safe is a top priority, but there are almost 500 kids in DSS custody in New Hanover and Pender counties.
Kaylee Henderson tells the story of how she was a guardian and became a friend to a child.
“Years later now, I still get to keep in contact with him and he knows my name,” says Henderson. “He walks around and can say ‘Hey Kaylee’ and it’s like I’ve gotten to watch that child. I was constant in that child’s life with social workers changing and with placements changing. I go to be constant from 2 weeks old to now he’s 2 and 1/2.”
Henderson is a UNCW student majoring in social work and she’s been passionate about working with foster kids since 10th grade. She began volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem 2 years ago.
“It was like I can do something right now,” said Henderson. “I can’t wait to be a foster mom but right now [this is] what can I do.”
Henderson says she loved watching the 15 children she worked with grow.
Volunteers like Henderson are the voice to almost 500 children in New Hanover and Pender counties who are victims of child abuse and neglect.
“They investigate what’s going on in the life of the child,” said District Administrator Linda Bialaszewski. “They report back to the court, write a court report and make sure that the children’s needs are being met. ”
Henderson says its amazing watching children’s’ lives transform from the moment they are put into care.
“There definitely is an impact that is so much bigger than who I am and what I’ve done,” said Henderson. “These kids and their lives matter and their voice matters and that’s what we get to be.”
If you’re interested in volunteering or learning more information, call the Guardian ad Litem program office at (910) 363- 5360 or visit the website.