Carla Deitz, of Fairfield, has been sworn in as a court advocate for abused and neglected children under a new program that fills a gap left by state budget cuts.

In State Superior Court in Stamford Feb. 10, Deitz was sworn in by Judge Mary E. Sommer as a guardian ad litem. In that volunteer role, Deitz will represent children's interests in juvenile protection proceedings to secure a safe, permanent and nurturing home.

The Fairfield woman completed a 35-hour training program conducted by Child Advocates of Connecticut, a new organization that prepares volunteers to serve as advocates for children at risk.

After state funding for the previous advocacy agency was cut, a group of concerned citizens former Child Advocates and won court approval to take up the cause. The group continues to recruit volunteers and train them, it said, and has another training program scheduled in March.

More information about the group is available online at www.ctchildadvocates.org.