Each year in South Carolina, thousands of vulnerable adults become victims of elder abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime that can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual abuse, and financial exploitation.
What does the VAGAL SC Program do?
South Carolina's Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Program provides guardians ad litem for vulnerable adults who are under the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The adults served by the program have been, or are at substantial risk of, abuse, neglect, or exploitation, or are no longer able to provide care for themselves.
Since South Carolina's Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Program started in 2011, the program has provided Guardians ad Litem for over 3,900 vulnerable adults.
South Carolina's Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Program (VAGAL SC) is looking for volunteers! Interested in acting as an unbiased advocate for adults in need? Volunteers for the VAGAL SC Program are being recruited and trained to serve as Guardians ad Litem (GALs) to represent vulnerable adults in the custody of Adult Protective Services. Elder abuse does not stop on its own. Someone has to step in to help. Volunteer GALs appear in court and make recommendations based on what is in the best interest of the vulnerable adult.
VAGAL SC is currently accepting volunteers in all South Carolina counties, except Richland, Lexington, Oconee, Pickens and Anderson. If you live in one of these counties, please consider volunteering in a nearby county. Thank you for your support!
Guardians ad Litem are responsible for meeting with the adult, reviewing legal, medical, and financial records, and interviewing the adult’s caregivers, family members, friends, treatment team, and others. GALs prepare a written report that is presented at court. In the report, the GAL makes a recommendation as to what is in the best interest of the vulnerable adult.
Need Help for Other Types of Abuse?
If you suspect abuse or neglect in a long term care facility, please call a Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-868-9095, housed at the South Carolina Department on Aging (SCDOA).
If you suspect your loved one is being abused in his/her home, please contact Adult Protective Services at DSS.