Tidelands Health leader to advocate for abused and neglected children
A Tidelands Health leader is stepping up to advocate for abused and neglected children in Georgetown County.
Phyllis Watford, manager for administrative nursing supervisors for the health system, has been appointed a volunteer guardian ad litem in Georgetown County.
In the role, Watford will serve as an advocate for children who are removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. She will help ensure the child’s wishes are considered when a judge makes decisions about the child’s future.
“I felt like it’s something I could do for these children to give them a voice,” said Watford, who also serves as manager for the health system’s nursing resource team. “Our role as guardians is to help ensure children are placed in a good, safe and nurturing environment.”
Guardians ad litem serve as a bridge between a child and the court system. They gather information about the child and the child’s needs and present a formal report that helps guide judicial decisions. Volunteers stay involved in each case until the child finds a safe, permanent home.
Watford said she is hoping to use her experience to help improve the dependency process in Georgetown County. She previously served in a similar role for adults in Sumter County and gained firsthand knowledge of the juvenile system in Georgetown County through the experience of a relative.
Plus, she said serving as a guardian ad litem will benefit her work with the health system by giving her knowledge she can share with patients and colleagues about the judicial system and broad range of community resources available to parents and children.
“It’s really been an eye-opening experience,” she said. “If I help even one child return to their parents or be placed in a safe, positive environment, I will have done my job.”