C.D. v. Department of Children and Families, 2015 WL 848157 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed a decision terminating her parental rights. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) reversed and remanded only the trial court’s ruling that termination was the least restrictive means of protecting her children from harm. At the termination trial, Dr. Flynn, the family therapist working with mother and the children, testified that he […]

State v. T.S., 155 So.3d 476 (Fla. 1st DCA 2015)

The trial court found that the Department of Children and Families (Department) met the statutory factors for termination of parental rights and established that termination was in the best interests of the child but denied termination, finding it was not the least restrictive means to protect the child. The Department appealed the findings related to […]

Governor Rick Scott Signs Regis Little Act to Protect Children

Tallahassee, Florida] -  Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Regis Little Act to Protect Children with Special Needs, which ensures vulnerable foster youth have a guardian in place at age 18. In 2008, Regis Little was a child of Florida’s foster care system.  With an IQ of 65, he was bipolar, hyperactive, […]

JUDGE GLADSTONE RECEIVES THE PRESTIGIOUS CHILES ADVOCACY AWARD AT THIS YEARS CHILDREN’S WEEK IN TALLAHASSEE

JUDGE GLADSTONE RECEIVES THE PRESTIGIOUS CHILES ADVOCACY AWARD (Video)  Judge Gladstone’s 40-year career on the bench and his work as a vocal advocate on behalf of dependent children and families in Florida was honored when he received the Chiles Advocacy Award at this year’s Children’s Week in Tallahassee Florida.  The award is given to a […]

Guardians for Foster Children

A bill that would provide guardians for foster children who are severely disabled and turning 18 is moving in both houses of the Florida Legislature. The Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs unanimously passed the bill by Senator Nancy Detert (DEE-turt) on Thursday. The bill aims to identify Floridians who don’t have the […]

Every Child’s Eyes

“Every Child’s Eyes” tells the story of a young boy in foster care, a friendship, a CASA volunteer, and the gift of a forever home.

2015 Standards

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office has published its revised Standards.  Guardian ad Litem Standards

Call for Proposals 2015 GAL Disabilities Training Conference

  The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) invites you to submit a proposal to present at the 2015 Disabilities Training Conference: Imagining the Future to be held May 21 -22, 2015 at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes Orlando.  This conference will bring together attorneys ad litem, attorneys and non-attorneys from government agencies and as […]

Visit the Statewide GAL Office’s New and Improved Website

Our website has been redesigned to better serve Florida’s child welfare advocates!  On it you will find how to get involved with the GAL Program, training, resources, local program and non-profit information, the  latest news and case summaries – including the Legal Briefs Newsletter.  Visit www.GuardianadLitem.org 

The Akerman Law Firm is the recipient of the 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award

The 2015 Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation Award is presented by the Florida Supreme Court and the Florida Bar recognizing Akerman for their contribution in the provision of bro bono legal services to individuals or groups that cannot otherwise afford the services.  This award recognizes the extraordinary commitment on the part of Akerman in providing access […]

R.L. v. W.G., 147 So.3d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

The Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed an order denying the former foster parents’ motion to intervene in termination proceedings. The Department petitioned to terminate the Mother’s parental rights. While Mother’s rights were still intact, Mother chose to have her cousin (W.G.) adopt her child. The court found W.G. to be qualified and ordered the child […]

H.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 3805524 (Fla. 5th DCA)

The Mother appealed an order denying her motion to reopen the dependency case to modify the trial court’s order placing the children in permanent guardianship with their paternal grandparents. The Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed denial finding that the parent has the burden of proving that the children’s safety, well-being, and physical, mental and emotional […]

In re: The Adoption of K.A.G., 2014 WL 7331269 (Fla. 5th DCA)

Paternal grandmother and Father appeal the trial court’s judgment dismissing Grandmother’s petition to adopt K.A.G. Father was charged with killing his child’s mother and was incarcerated awaiting trial. The Department of Children and Families (department) began dependency proceedings, placed the child with his aunt and petitioned to terminate Father’s parental rights. Concurrently, Grandmother petitioned the […]

C.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 148 So.3d 833 (Fla. 5th DCA 2014)

Father appealed part of the trial court’s dispositional order requiring him to participate in anger management. The Department conceded error in that the evidence presented to the trial court failed to demonstrate a need for such counseling. Florida Rule of Juvenile Procedure 8.410(b)(4) provides that the case plan be “meaningful and designed to address the […]

V.C.B. v. Shakir, 145 So.3d 967 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Maternal grandparents appealed the denial of their petition to terminate Father’s rights and adopt their grandchild. The trial court found that Father abandoned the child both financially and emotionally but that Father did not willfully disregard the minor child’s safety. The trial court held that such a finding was necessary to terminate parental rights pursuant […]

E.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 616 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

Mother appealed the dependency adjudication of her child, asserting the trial court’s order was not supported by competent substantial evidence. The Fourth DCA affirmed the trial court’s adjudication order. Mother had a history of mental illness and domestic violence with father. Four years prior, mother had another child removed following allegations that mother said she […]

E.R. v. Department of Children and Families, 143 So. 3rd 1131 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014)

The Fourth District Court of Appeal (Fourth DCA) reversed the trial court’s order adjudicating Mother and Father’s children dependent. Specifically, the Fourth DCA (in E.R.) held that the trial court’s finding that Mother “placed both the minor children at imminent risk of neglect and harm” was not supported by “competent, substantial evidence.” The underlying case was […]

A.A. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 621 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014)

Mother filed a petition for writ of certiorari for review of the trial court’s denial of her motion to modify a permanency order and reunification with her children. The Third DCA granted Mother’s petition. The children had been placed in a permanent guardianship with their stepfather and Mother had maintained supervised visitation. Mother sought to […]

R.W. v. Department of Children and Families, 147 So.3d 631 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2014)

Father appealed termination of his parental rights. The Department of Children and Families (department) confessed error and the Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) reversed the termination of parental rights. Although the trial court’s written final judgment found abandonment as the basis for terminating Father’s parental rights, the trial court orally pronounced, “I won’t […]

A.F. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 5151623 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

The Mother appeals the trial court’s order terminating her parental rights arguing that the trial court committed reversible error by appointing an attorney ad litem rather than appointing a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the child. The Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) held that because the right to have […]

In re A.W.J., 143 So. 3d 1109 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2014)

Both Mother and Father separately appealed an order adjudicating their child dependent based on physical abuse. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed the adjudication order. Father testified that he placed his 6 month old child in a Bumbo chair and went in the kitchen. Mother was not at home. While Father was […]

A.H. v. Department of Children and Families, 144 So. 3d 662 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights arguing that the court’s findings that that she abandoned her child and that termination was the least restrictive means of protecting the child were erroneous. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) reversed termination solely on the issue that the trial court failed to find that termination […]

J.B. v. Department of Children and Families, 2014 WL 4976981 (Fla. 1st DCA)

Mother appealed termination of her parental rights claiming she was denied effective assistance of counsel. The First District Court of Appeal (First DCA) affirmed termination but addressed the current standard for determining ineffective assistance of counsel and the procedure for raising an ineffective claim. The First DCA certified both questions. Mother asserted a number of […]

In re G.M., Jr., 71 So.3d 924 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011)

The father appealed the trial court’s order terminating his parental rights based on his failure to complete his case plan tasks and abandonment. The father argued he was unable to comply with his case plan because the Department of Children and Family Services (department) failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify the father with his […]

In re G.M., 73 So.3d 320 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011)

The mother appealed the trial court’s order denying her motion for reunification and that terminated protective supervision with her child in the custody of his non-offending father. Both the mother and father’s case plan goal was reunification and the trial court had found the mother and father (who lived in another state) were in substantial […]