SC Vulnerable Adult Guardian Ad Litem

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.

If you suspect abuse or neglect in a long term care facility, please call a Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCO) 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.

In 2016 the South Carolina Department of Social Services received over 7,000 reports of vulnerable adults being abused, neglected, or exploited. Many of these reports resulted in court proceedings.

Elder abuse does not stop on its own. Someone has to step in to help.

What does the SC VAGAL Program do?

The South Carolina 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 abused, neglected, or exploited, or are no longer able to provide care for themselves.

On May 16, 2014, enabling legislation for the SCVAGAL program was signed into law by Governor Nikki Haley. The legislation made the SCVAGAL Program part of the South Carolina Department on Aging.

Since the SC Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Program started in 2011, the program has provided Guardians ad Litem for over 1300 vulnerable adults. 


The South Carolina Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Program (SCVAGAL) is looking for volunteers! Interested in acting as an unbiased advocate for adults in need? Volunteers for the SCVAGAL Program are being recruited and trained to serve as Guardians ad Litem to represent vulnerable adults in the custody of Adult Protective Services. Volunteer GALs will appear in court and make recommendations based on what is in the best interest of the vulnerable adult. Volunteers are also being recruited to serve as GAL Visitors. GAL Visitors are not required to attend court. They make visits to vulnerable adults in facilities and work with a GAL to ensure the adult’s needs are being met.

Volunteer Responsibilities

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, and treatment team. 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.

Please contact Debbie Parker at (803) 734-1959 to volunteer for this worthy program!

Upcoming Training Opportunities for New Volunteers

Contact Debbie Parker (1-800-868-9095 or regarding scheduled trainings.