Attorney Volunteers Needed!

On November 20, 2009, the Supreme Court of South Carolina amended Rule 608 so that attorneys will no longer be appointed as Guardians ad Litem (GALs) in Family Court. This amendment went into effect on July 1, 2010. While there are GAL programs in effect to cover DSS Child Protective cases, there are currently no such programs for Adult Protective cases.

In late spring, an ad hoc group formed to develop a plan to address the GAL system for Emergency Adult Protective Service cases. As a stop-gap measure, the group has implemented a six-month interim program in which volunteer attorneys will serve as GALs in APS cases until December 31, 2010.

Historically, there have been approximately 500 Emergency Adult Protective Service cases per year. Most counties have an average of 8-9 cases per year:[1] eight counties reported zero cases in 2009-2010[2] with Charleston and Richland Counties having 41 and 40 cases, respectively. Only three counties had more than 20, but less than 30 APS cases, Berkeley (21), Kershaw (27), and Newberry (21). Five counties reported only 1 case during the report year.[3]

The Emergency Adult Protective Services cases typically last approximately six months, as opposed to the Child Protective Service cases, which may last years. In preparation for these cases, the ad hoc group developed a PowerPoint and statutory guide for reference. These materials are available online at

Attorneys interested in volunteering to serve as volunteer GALs in APS cases should contact Cindy Coker at (803) 799-6653, ext. 142 or

Volunteers will receive pro bono malpractice coverage as well as pro bono credit for appointments.

[1] This average is based on 45 counties, excluding Spartanburg, which had 132 APS cases in 2009-2010.

[2] Abbeville, Barnwell, Florence, Georgetown, Jasper, Lee, Lancaster, and McCormick.

[3] Allendale, Bamberg, Cherokee, Dorchester, and Saluda.


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