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 […]

Announcing the Launch of the GAL Foundation Website

We are excited to bring you the new Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation website. Take some time to look at Volunteer Training, News, how you can help, information about the upcoming Foundation Golf Tournament and other great GAL Foundation information.  Go to www.FLGAL.org

2015 Florida Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference – Imagining the Future Videos are Posted!

This year over 450 attorneys, judges and child welfare professionals attended the Second Annual Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Disabilities Training Conference.  The keynote speakers were inspiring, thought provoking and gave child welfare professionals in attendance tools to use in helping the children they work with every day.  The workshops were wide ranging with presenters sharing their […]

D.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1810315 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights based upon his incarceration. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed as to two of his three children, finding as to those children that termination was not supported by competent substantial evidence, that termination was not in the children’s manifest best interest or that termination was […]

B.K. v Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1652761 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. He alleged that his incarceration did not warrant termination as it was not for a significant portion of the child’s life. He further argued that termination was not the least restrictive means of preventing harm to the child. At the time of the termination hearing, Father’s child was […]

A.S. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1448507 (Fla. 4th DCA)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed the termination holding that the trial court erred in finding that Father abandoned his child and that termination was the least restrictive means to protect the child. J.A. was born in September of 2012 and placed in care immediately […]

In re R.T., 2015 WL 1259666 (Fla. 2d DCA)

Mother petitioned the court for a writ of certiorari seeking to quash the trial court’s order requiring her three teenage sons to undergo therapeutic assessments in connection with the denial of Mother’s motion to amend a safety plan prohibiting Mother’s husband, S.K., from having contact with her sons. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second […]

In re YV., 2015 WL 1578561 (Fla. 1st DCA)

This appeal follows dismissal of a private petition for dependency on behalf of a minor child who illegally emigrated alone from Honduras to the United States. Y.V. was abused and abandoned by his parents in Honduras. He crossed the Mexico-United States border alone, was picked up by “authorities,” who contacted his uncle in Florida. Uncle […]

W.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 159 So.3d 999 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

Father petitioned for writ of certiorari regarding an Order denying his motions to reinstate supervised visitation and to declare Florida Statute s 39.0139 unconstitutional. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) found review of such an order is properly addressed by appeal and treated the petition as an appeal pursuant to Florida Rule of […]

Update – GAL Legislative Budget June 15,2015

Guardian ad Litem Team, The House and Senate are close to agreement on a General Appropriations Act and hope to pass a final budget no later than June 19. Based on the decisions made to date (and these are not likely to change at this point), the Guardian ad Litem budget will remain at its […]

M.P. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 1044156 (Fla 4th DCA)

Father appealed an Order of Adjudication of Dependency and Order of Disposition and Case Plan Approval. The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) affirmed adjudication but remanded to strike several unsupported findings from the order and reversed the need for the Father to submit to random drug testing from his case plan. With regard […]

Department of Children and Families v. T.S., 154 So.3d 1223 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015)

The trial court dismissed a petition for dependency sua sponte at a fourth continued arraignment hearing over the objection of the Department of Children and Families (Department). The matter had been continued three times because the Department was unable to locate either parent, and the child absconded from shelter placement. A pick-up order was outstanding […]

Department of Children and Families v. S.B., 2015 WL 674941 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

The Department appealed an order of the trial court directing the Department to make payments to relative caregivers of children. The Department asserted that the trial court’s payment order was in violation of the requirements set forth by the Florida Administration Code Rule 65C-28.008(1)(d). The trial court found that the Administrative Rule was beyond the […]

J.A.I. v. B.R., 2015 WL 404001 (Fla. 2d DCA)

J.A.I. and J.K.C. filed a petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of a trial court order requiring them and J.A.I.’s daughter to submit to genetic testing for the purpose of determining paternity. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) granted the writ finding that B.R. was precluded from challenging paternity. J.A.I. and J.K.C. […]