GUARDIAN AD LITEM SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETES YOUTH ADVOCACY GRANT

GAL Completed the Youth Advocacy Grant [Tallahassee, Florida] – The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has successfully completed a national youth advocacy grant aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s abused, abandoned and neglected children. Thanks to the $37,000 grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, the GAL Program trained […]

For Father’s Day, consider helping a child without one

On Father’s Day, those with great dads count their blessings. But for too many children, growing up in what the National Fatherhood Initiative calls “the father absence crisis in America,” the lack of a positive role male model will shadow their entire lives. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in the U.S—one […]

Bar Honors Guardian ad Litem Program for Boosting Board Certification in Juvenile Law

 Tallahassee, Florida – The Florida Bar’s Board of Legal Specialization & Education (BLSE) recognized the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program Thursday for promoting Board Certification in Juvenile Law among attorneys who represent abused and neglected children and their families within the state dependency system. To encourage its own and other attorneys to pursue the lengthy, […]

Guardian ad Litem Program’s Collaboration with The Florida Bar’s Pro Bono Appellate Lawyers Wins TaxWatch Prudential Productivity Award

[Tallahassee, Florida] – What started out as an effort to find volunteers to provide advocacy for children in 25 cases has ballooned into a hugely successful partnership between Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Program and private attorneys which is yielding top notch legal advocacy and saving Florida hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today, that initiative, called […]

2018 GAL Disabilities Training Conference

  Registration is live for the 2018 GAL Disabilities Training Conference. REGISTER TODAY!   Each year the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program holds a conference for child welfare attorneys, child welfare professionals, and judges who represent and work with dependent children with disabilities. This popular conference is known for its advanced material and workshops. The […]

Dade County Bar Honors Guardian ad Litem Attorney

[Tallahassee, Florida] – The Dade County Bar Association has named Frances Feinberg, director of the program that represents child victims and witnesses in Miami-Dade criminal court, as one of its Women of Distinction for 2018. Feinberg, who oversees Guardian ad Litem’s Criminal Court Project for the 11th Judicial Circuit, won the Dade Bar’s Women of […]

Now Accepting Proposals for the 2018 Disabilities Training Conference

2018 Florida Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference  Each year the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program holds a training conference for child welfare attorneys, child welfare professionals, private attorneys, and judges who represent and work with dependent children with disabilities.This popular conference is known for its advanced material and workshops. The Florida Guardian ad Litem […]

Audrey Schiebler Volunteer of the Year Award – Christine Hoyne

The GAL Program’s Audrey Schiebler Volunteer of the Year Award is a superlative without comparison!  Florida’s GAL Program has the most caring, dedicated, and creative volunteers whose excellence in advocacy is literally life-altering for children. At the top of these ranks this year is Christine Hoyne from the 16th Circuit. Christine exemplifies the best of the GAL […]

Circuit Team Award – Vince Rieger, Pat Smith, Pam Peterson, & Kari Marsland-Petit

Team advocacy for the child’s best interests is the hallmark of the GAL Program, and the work of Circuit 6 team – Vince Rieger (Volunteer), Pat Smith (Volunteer), Pam Peterson (Child Advocate Manager), and Kari Marsland-Petit (Best Interests Attorney). They demonstrate why this collaboration is so important for children. Pat and Pam were assigned a […]

Angela Orkin Dedication Award – Karen Orchowski

Karen’s talent for streamlining information, attention to detail, and her willingness to help others made her an obvious choice for the Angela Orkin Dedication Award! Having accurate, up-to-date information about the children the Program represents is crucial to effective advocacy, and Karen’s incredible work with Optima has had a positive impact on representation statewide. She […]

Executive Director Award – Meliza Frias

Tireless, tenacious advocacy is what won Meliza Frias the Executive Director Award! Meliza is a passionate advocate for all the children she represents, and this commitment was highlighted in a case that started in 2013 involving 4 children from one family separated in different group homes. Meliza was determined to get the children back together […]

Leadership Award – Susan Somers

Leadership, integrity and innovation in attaining GAL goals and objectives – these are the hallmarks of the Leadership Award.  This year, the Program proudly awards it to Susan Somers! Susan does a wonderful job of managing the large network of attorneys in the 11th circuit. She has done a great job transitioning from sharing the […]

Barbra Sessa Award – Janet Anderson

The GAL Program celebrates Janet Anderson for winning this year’s Barbra Sessa Award. Janet’s passion for and connection with the children she represents makes her a stand-out in her circuit. If Janet is not in court or busily working away at her computer, she is on the phone with volunteers or talking to the children […]

Daniel P. Dawson Award – Natalee Hamilton

The GAL Program is honored to award Natalee Hamilton, Senior Child’s Best Interest Attorney in Circuit 19, the Judge Dawson Award. In her nomination, Natalee was described as enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate. Her supreme knowledge of the law and world-class courtroom skills are some of the things that inspired her colleagues to submit her name.  In […]

Always in need, guardians protect kids in the court system

Click here to read a great article by Patrice Russell from the Bradford County Telegraph-Union County Times. This article highlights Alachua, Bradford, Baker, Gilchrist, Levy, and Union counties discussing the work of the Guardian ad Litem Program as well as the local circuit’s nonprofit The Guardian Foundation, Inc.

QPI/GAL Interview

Guardian ad Litem Program Executive Director, Alan Abramowitz is interviewed by David Brown. David Brown is the Program Coordinator for Quality Parenting Initiative. Their interview discusses promoting the role of care givers and working together as a team. QPI/GAL Interview

Florida Bar News – GAL project aims to help children

Read how the the Florida Bar Pro Bono Committee Appellate Practice Section has partnered with the Guardian ad Litem Program on the Defending Best Interest Project. This project will allow more Florida attorneys to use their skills to defend the best interests of dependent children when challenged on appeal. GAL Project aims to help children

2017 Disabilities Training Conference Videos Available Now

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

Guardian ad Litem’s “Defending Best Interests Project” on fast track for lawyers to help children pro bono

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program is pleased to announce its latest pro bono initiative, the “Defending Best Interests Project” which will allow more Florida attorneys to use their skills to defend the best interests of dependent children when challenged on appeal. In dependency court, it is a fundamental principle that the child’s best interests […]

Florida Guardian ad Litem Awarded $40,000 Youth Advocacy Grant

[Tallahassee, Florida] –  The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program has been chosen for a 2017 National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association Youth Advocacy Grant aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s abused and neglected children. This is the second year the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has won the $40,000 grant […]

New Video – Become a Pro Bono Attorney for the GAL Program

Become a part of our newest project – Defending Best Interests.  With support from the GAL Appellate Attorneys, you will write briefs in appeals where a judge has found termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child.  The project offers an opportunity to volunteer with a shorter, more defined time commitment […]

Groundbreaking Program Helping Foster Children Get Driver’s Licenses Made Permanent as SB 60/HB 217 Passes Florida Legislature

[Tallahassee, Florida] – A pilot program helping youth in the child welfare system get driver’s licenses, was expanded and became permanent today with the passage of SB 60 and HB 217. Known as the “Keys to Independence Act,” the program assists youth with getting a learner’s permit or driver’s license, helps find driver education courses […]

Promoting Justice and Reducing Trauma, Florida Legislature passes HB 151 to Expand Use of Dogs in Court Proceedings

[Tallahassee, Florida] – Today the Legislature passed House Bill 151 by Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) and Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee), authorizing judges to allow children in proceedings involving abuse and neglect and intellectually disabled persons to have therapy dogs and facility dogs present for court proceedings as a way to reduce trauma and facilitate testimony. […]

Groundbreaking Program Helping Foster Children Get Driver’s Licenses Made Permanent as SB 60 Passes House and Goes to Governor

  [Tallahassee, Florida] – A pilot program helping youth in the child welfare system get driver’s licenses, was expanded and became permanent today with the passage of SB 60 and HB 217.  Known as the “Keys to Independence Act,” the program assists youth with getting a learner’s permit or driver’s license, helps find driver education […]

Last Day for Early Registration Discount – GAL Disabilities Training Conference

Don’t miss out on this year’s Disabilities Training Conference.  We have an amazing schedule of speakers to inspire you and to share their expertise with you.  Come to learn, come to network, come to prepare yourself to better represent the needs of abused, neglected and abandoned children with disabilities. To find out more and register visit http://www.cvent.com/d/kvqhkf 

Justice’s Best Friend Act passed the House today

Testifying in court can be scary. For children in abuse, abandonment, and neglect cases, it can sometimes also be traumatizing. These dogs can reduce traumatization and facilitate the administration of justice. Around the state, dogs are successfully used in a variety of cases. The GAL believes the law should be amended to reflect current practice, […]

Senate Unanimously Supports Driver’s Licenses for Children

Thursday, the bill (SB 60) sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, that makes permanent a pilot project giving foster youth the opportunity to get driver’s licenses was passed unanimously by the Florida Senate. The bill makes the 2014 pilot program that reimburses fosters parents or children for driver’s education, licenses fees, and insurance permanent. Senator Bean […]

Angela Orkin Dedication Award Given to Dennis Moore, General Counsel

Throughout his tenure Dennis has demonstrated his commitment to the Program’s success, working tirelessly to assist the Program to achieve its mission. This year, Dennis was integral in ensuring legislation was passed that significantly impacts the lives of many of Florida’s dependent children – The Child’s Best Hope Act.  Dennis drafted legislation, met with legislators, […]

2017 Guardian ad Litem Annual Report Now Available

This year, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Annual Report – Making the Impossible Possible:  Stories of Advocacy, is a look into the lives of our GAL volunteers, staff and attorneys. Sometimes the best way to understand an idea or a point of view is through story telling.  Whether it is a fable that teaches […]

Video: The Effects of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Babies and Children

This video, The Effects of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Babies and Children, produced by the 11th Circuit (Miami) and featuring Judge Carroll Kelly and Judge Orlando Prescott, provides valuable information about the severe and lasting negative impact that exposure to domestic violence has on babies and children. This video also teaches that babies and children […]

Available Now – GAL Volunteer Pre-Service Training Course with Interpreters and Closed Captioning

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is proud to announce a new series of guardian ad litem volunteer pre-service training videos – GAL Volunteer Training Course with Interpreters and Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired community.    These videos are available as a resource for those potential GAL volunteers who have a hearing impairment and would […]

Alan Abramowitz Reappointed as Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office

  [Tallahassee, Florida] –  Lori Duarte-Roberts, Chairperson of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation Board of Directors, announces Alan Abramowitz is reappointed by Governor Rick Scott as the Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office.    Over 10,000 Floridians volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem Program, an organization whose mission is to advocate […]

Senate Bill 60 by Senator Bean – Children Obtaining Driver Licenses Subcommittee Hearing

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services:  Wednesday, February 8th, 2:00—4:00 p.m.,  at 401 Senate Office Building. Senate Bill 60  – The Keys to Independence Bill will be heard in its second committee on February 8th at 2 PM.  There are six anticipated committee hearings in the Legislature regarding this important legislation. The members of […]

SB 60 on Children Obtaining Driver Licenses Unanimously Passes Committee

On January 23 the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs met to discuss Senate Bill 60.  They heard testimony from advocates and former foster youth from Youth SHINE.  The bill makes the “Keys to Independence”  pilot project permanent – paving the way for foster children to get their learner permits and drivers license.  The bill […]