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Last updated: October 15. 2013 5:35PM - 1692 Views
By - jpeters@civitasmedia.com - 336-719-1931



Kate Appler
Kate Appler
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Kate Appler has been named district administrator for the North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Program for Surry and Stokes counties.


The Guardian ad Litem Program is a division of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. Its purpose is to represent abused and neglected children in juvenile court, if the abuse or neglect is alleged to be by a parent, guardian or caretaker.


A Guardian ad Litem volunteer and an attorney are appointed by a district court judge to represent children in child protection hearings. The district administrator recruits citizens to serve as Guardians ad Litem volunteers in local child abuse and neglect cases.


“When I heard that there was an opening in the Guardian ad Litem Program to work directly with volunteers for the benefit of children, I felt compelled to apply,” Appler said. “My goal is to have every child who has been identified as being in a situation of abuse or neglect in Surry and Stokes county to have a Guardian ad Litem volunteer to advocate for them in the judicial system, to help determine the best permanent living situation, and to advocate for any medical or mental health treatment, educational needs, or any other service a child may need.”


Local citizens who volunteer for the post “are screened, trained and supervised to handle the advocacy for a child, and thereby aid the court system in determining a safe and caring environment for that child; be it with parents, relatives, or another permanent placement,” according according to the district office.


Appler is the former executive director of the United Fund of Surry Inc., and has served on the Mount Airy Board of Education for the past nine years. She has lived in Mount Airy for 28 years, is married to Dr. Mark Appler, and has three sons. She has been a member of the Mount Airy City School Board for the past 9 years.


“The Guardian ad Litem Program is always looking for individuals who have a love for children and want to see them safe, either in their own homes or with caring relatives or another permanent home, if family is unable to care for the children,” the district said in a written statement.


Appler will provide roughly 30 hours of initial training to prepare the volunteers to gather the facts about the case, to visit children in their placements, to write reports to include the needs of the child, and to make other recommendations that promote and protect the best interests of the children. The volunteers average about eight hours per month advocating for a child.


“It is so very rewarding to know that as a volunteer, a child would be able to continue going forward in school, and know that they are safe when they go home at night,” said Appler. Guardian ad Litem volunteers find that spending time advocating for a child in need, “not only helps the child, but helps the community.”


There are 38 volunteers between the two counties serving as Guardians ad Litem and 133 children have been supported through the program. “However, there is always a need for additional volunteers,” the organization said.


Appler is the former executive director of the United Fund of Surry Inc., and has served on the Mount Airy Board of Education for the past nine years. She has lived in Mount Airy for 28 years, is married to Dr. Mark Appler, and has three sons. She has been a member of the Mount Airy City School Board for the past 9 years.


She is replacing Linda Devine, who has moved to serve the Forsyth GAL program.


Anyone interested in learning more about the Guardian ad Litem Program can request Appler to speak to church and civic groups. For more information, including the training to be a volunteer, contact the office at 336-386-4090 or on the web at www.ncgal.org.


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