Florida GAL Appointments to National CASA Legal and Advocacy Committee

Congratulations to Kelly Swartz, Guardian ad Litem Director of Legal Services and Liz Damski, Guardian ad Litem Special Counsel, on their appointment to the National CASA Association Legal and Advocacy Committee.  National CASA supports the mission of 949 CASA/GAL programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  Through collaboration with GAL programs across the […]

Child’s Best Hope Act – Update

The latest update is great news.  We are almost at the end of the legislative process. We have completed the process in the Senate on the “Adoption Intervention Bill (SB 590) and it should go over to the House in messages. House Bill 673 is on the agenda on the Health and Human Services Committee […]

Medicaid Training Posted

Medicaid training provided by Nancy Wright, Attorney, Law Office of Nancy E. Wright.  In practice since 1980,  Nancy Wright’s legal practice is focused on rights of individuals receiving Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver services, with emphasis on clients with developmental disabilities or  complex medical conditions.  In this video training Nancy Wright explains the benefits available to […]

The Nancy C. Detert Children’s Champion Award Presented to Senator Detert at Children’s Week

Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, Christina Spudeas of Florida’s Children First, and Florida Youth Shine State Chair Chelsea Bramblett recognized Senator Nancy Detert  with the Nancy C. Detert Children’s Champion Award during the Florida’s Children’s Week kickoff dinner. Senator Nancy C. Detert (R Venice) was named the first recipient […]

GAL Program Partners in “Hanging of Hands”

This week is Florida’s Children’s Week celebrated at the State Capitol. Children’s Week is “a special annual celebration filled with joyful singing voices of young children, the colorful “Hanging of Hands”, and the dedication of thousands of child advocates across Florida, captures the true spirit and commitment Florida has made to our children and youth. […]

Volunteer of the Year – Randy Olson

Randy Olson is not the person you will ask, “Will you do that?” He’s the person who has done that and is on to the next thing! There is little Randy won’t do for the GAL Program. Randy never says no…there is no job too big or too small! He isn’t afraid to tackle a […]

Guardian ad Litem Legislative Session Update (Week 3)

As we kicked off Children’s Week in Tallahassee yesterday, it seemed like a great time for a legislative update.  Thank you for your continued support of the Guardian ad Litem Program! Today marks the 3rd week of the 2016 Legislative session and it has proven very busy.  I presented Guardian ad Litem’s budget requests to […]

Update: Child’s Best Hope Act

On January 13, 2016, the House Subcommittee on Children, Families & Seniors heard testimony from Heather Rosenberg, the president of the Tallahassee Area Foster and Adoptive Parent Association.  Heather is also an adoptive parent with her own story to tell about the importance of the court considering the best interests of the child.  Heather spoke […]

Note from Alan Abramowitz – First Day of 2016 Legislative Session

All GAL staff, volunteers and supporters: Today marks the first day of the 2016 Legislative Session.  We are excited Guardian ad Litem’s priorities will be discussed, during this 60 day process. From a budgetary standpoint, GAL has requested $1.1 million to account for the increased number of children coming into care, $1.36 million for in-home […]

Update on “Child’s Best Hope Act”

Child’s Best Hope Advocates: Update on “Child’s Best Hope Act”.    Over the holidays not much happened. These bills will be heard soon in the Senate Judiciary Committee and in the House Children Families and Seniors subcommittee.  The two bills are still different however we are working to get them identical.  It is very early in […]

Tluzek v. Tluzek, 2015 WL 7017418 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Former wife appealed a final judgment of dissolution. Former Wife argued that it was reversible error to order that their monthly adoption subsidy should be offset against Former Husband’s child support obligations. The Fifth District Court of Appeals (Fifth DCA) found that an adoption subsidy provided by the State of Florida to the parents of […]

C.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 7007794 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights on the grounds of “egregious conduct.” The Fourth District Court of Appeals (Fourth DCA) found that the life and death consequences of Father’s lack of providing proper medical care supported a finding that his conduct was egregious as defined by Florida Statute § 39.806(1)(f). The child at issue […]

T.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 6496316 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed an order which placed his children in a permanent guardianship with a relative; terminated supervision by the Department of Children and Families; and modified Father’s visitation with the children to comport with the relative’s planned move out of state. The Fourth District Court of Appeals (Fourth DCA) reversed the order finding that it […]

In re E.D., 2015 WL 9487592 (Fla. 2d DCA)

In affirming the trial court’s final judgment that terminated the mother’s parental rights to her four children, the Second District Court of Appeal emphasized the importance of trial courts adhering to specific time frames in cases involving termination of parental rights.  In this case, the trial court did not render its final termination of parental […]

New 6 hour training posted on Transitioning Youth with Developmental Disabilities

Bridging the Gap for Transitioning Youth with Developmental Disabilities: From Foster Care to Adulthood.  In this training you will learn about Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program (EPSDT) versus Waiver; Securing Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) Services for Transitioning Youth;  Social Security Administration and Master Trust Accounts (MTAs); and Effective Transition Planning (Court, Medical, […]

Amy Erven Presented with the Angela Orkin Dedication Award

The Angela Orkin Dedication Award is  awarded annually to one GAL Program State Office employee who is dedicated to the mission of the GAL Program, as was Angela. It is an employee who is personable, organized, a team builder, conscientious, innovative, and hard-working.  This year’s recipient, Amy Erven embodies all of qualities of the Angela […]

Norm is Jumping out of an Airplane for Florida’s GAL Program!

Norm Bungard, a 7 Year Guardian ad Litem , wants to ensure more abused and neglected children have the tools they need to succeed. With over 3,000 children in care at any given time in Pinellas and Pasco Counties, he knows all too well that meeting these complex needs is costly. That is why Norm […]

GAL Program in Broward discusses what “I am for the Child” means to them

Kasandra Philips, Circuit Director of the Guardian ad Litem Program discusses the importance of the GAL Program in this article   Monique Damiano, a guardian since May 2014, says,  “I think we have great opportunities to make differences. It just takes a little bit of time and caring and it’s something the child will never forget.”  […]

The Child’s Best Hope Act – Committee Passes Bill Unanimously

Yesterday was an important day for Florida’s abused, neglected and abandoned children and those that care for, advocate and love these children.  The Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee heard public comment regarding Senate Bill 590 which is being sponsored by Senator Nancy Detert and championed by the Guardian ad Litem Program.  The committee […]

Lorraine Donovan-Lepanto Awarded GAL Leadership Award

An essential element of a great Guardian ad Litem team, and therefore great advocacy for our children, is an excellent leader. Circuit 2 supervising attorney Lorraine Donovan-Lepanto fulfills that role every day. With her guidance and support our legal team and staff are able to provide quality, effective advocacy for the children we serve.   […]

A.D. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 5163712 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Father appealed the termination of his parental rights based on abandonment. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal (Fifth DCA) reversed the termination finding the record did not support a finding of abandonment and that the evidence did not rise to a level justifying termination. Florida Statute § 39.01 defines abandonment as “a situation in which […]

W.L. v. Department of Children and Families, 172 So.3d 562 (Fla 4th DCA 2015)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) vacated the order and remanded, without addressing Mother’s arguments, based on the trial court’s failure to recite a number of required factual findings and conclusions of law in its final written order. The Fourth DCA found that rather than issuing […]

An Interview Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Shorecrest’s Guardian ad Litem service club sits down with Ashley Rhodes-Courter before her talk at the school. Each year, Shorecrest Preparatory School collects gifts and necessities for children in the Guardian ad Litem program for the holidays

Hanging of the Hands Presented by Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

Children’s Week is excited to announce the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a proud partner of the 2016 Hanging of the Hands activity during Children’s Week! The annual Hanging of the Hands is a magical activity taking place Sunday, January 24 to Friday, January 29 in the State Capitol Rotunda. Tens of thousands of […]

FSU Professor Paolo Annino Honored as an Honorary Guardian ad Litem

[Tallahassee, Florida] –  Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, recognized FSU Law Professor Paolo Annino as an Honorary Guardian ad Litem. Giving, caring, protecting, advocating, listening – these are some of the words that describe the spirit of the Guardian ad Litem Program. Each day, GAL volunteers help shape […]

A Series of Special Education Training Videos Available on the GAL website

Do you want to better understand the rights of  students with special needs to improve your representation? Special Education Law, presented by Prof. Paolo Annino, a Glass Professor Public Interest Law at Florida State University, will strengthen your knowledge. Special Education Law is  specially designed instruction that addresses the unique needs that result from a […]

Psychotropic Medication Training (September 2015)

1. Psychotropic Medications PPT (2015) 2 – Trainer Guide (Psychotropic) 3 – Participant Guide (Psychotropic) 4 – Appendix A (Psychotropic Medications) 5 – Appendix B (Laws and Procedures) 6 – Appendix C (Making Healthy Choices) 7 – TIPS TO GROW (FINAL) 8 – Postcard Quote 9 – Folder Labels

State Representative Janet Adkins Named Honorary Guardian ad Litem by the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

Florida Guardian ad Litem Office Executive Director Alan Abramowitz named State Representative Janet Adkins as an Honorary Guardian ad Litem in recognition of her tireless advocacy in passing the Regis Little Act. In giving the award to Representative Adkins, Executive Director Alan Abramowitz thanked her by acknowledging that “GAL volunteers do not work alone.  There […]

Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program v. A.A., 2015 WL 4510417 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) appealed the trial court’s Final Judgment Denying Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights and Ordering a Permanent Guardianship Case Plan. The trial court found that DCF proved statutory grounds for termination as to Mother and Father by clear and convincing evidence […]

In re B.Y.G.M., 176 So. 3d 290 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2015)

B.Y.G.M. appealed dismissal of her private petition for dependency on the basis of abandonment and neglect by her father. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed. B.Y.G.M. was abandoned by her father when she was eight months old in El Salvador. She lived with her grandparents until she fled to the United States […]

In re K.B.L.V., 176 So. 3d 279 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2015)

K.B.L.V. appealed dismissal of his private petition for dependency based upon abandonment. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) affirmed. K.B.L.V. was seventeen years old when he filed a private petition for dependency. At the time, he was living with his mother in Florida. It was undisputed that his father abandoned him in Honduras. […]

S.V. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 4095258 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

Father petitioned for writ of certiorari regarding a review of a trial court order that set aside a magistrate’s recommendation for reunification and denied Father’s motion for reunification. The  Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) denied Father’s petition . Citing Cerase v. Dewhurst, 935 So. 2d 575 (Fla. 3d DCA 2006), the Third DCA […]

The Women’s Council of Realtors Florida State Chapter donates over “851” new suitcases to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation

[Tallahassee, Florida] –  Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, announced today that  The Women’s Council of Realtors Florida State Chapter collected “851” new suitcases/rolling bags to benefit the children in foster care that are represented by a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program’s mission is […]

Learn More About Supported Decision Making

We all learned so much from Jonathan Martinis and his keynote address at the 2015 GAL Disabilities Training Conference -Supported Decision-Making:  From Justice for Jenny to Justice for All!  You can learn even more by visiting the Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities website at www.dcqualitytrust.org.  If you missed the 2015 GAL Disabilities Conference you […]