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 […]

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan and Sen. Aaron Bean sponsoring legislation to make The Florida Keys to Independence Act for foster children a permanent program

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, and Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, are sponsoring legislation this year to make The Florida Keys to Independence Act for foster  children a  permanent program. The Florida Keys to Independence Act was signed into law in 2014. It is targeted at youth in licensed foster care between the ages of […]

A Note of Appreciation for Legal Advocacy At Its Best

“As you may know, although I’ve been a judge for ten years, I’ve presided in Dependency court for a mere three months. Consequently, I come with vast exposure to the caliber of lawyer practicing in Miami, but somewhat limited experience in the Juvenile Division.  It’s from that context that I wanted to take the occasion […]

Volunteer Champion of Service Award Awarded to GAL Dorothy Binger

During the December 6, 2016 Florida Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded the Volunteer Champion of Service Award to Guardian ad Litem volunteer Dorothy Binger. The Champion of Service Award is Florida’s only statewide volunteer recognition.  The award recognizes a volunteer who demonstrates excellence in volunteerism and community service. “Ms. Dot” […]

Announcement of Attorney Awards for Excellence in Advocacy for Children with Special Needs

The Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program announced today that 21 attorneys were named as winners of the Program’s award for Excellence in Advocacy for special needs children who have been abused or neglected.  Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, made the announcement noting that these attorneys had distinguished themselves in the courtroom as champions for children. […]

I Could Not Say it Better than GAL Volunteer Alaina Machado.

As a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem I get all types of different questions. “Do you get paid?” I answer “No, all Guardians as Litem are actually volunteers.” “Oh… you do it because you need the volunteer hours for school?” Again my answer is no. The last and more common question is, “How can you  do […]

Great News in the First Circuit!

Recently the city of Pensacola and Pensacola’s Mayor Ashton J. Hayward, offered a proclamation that Tuesday October 18th was Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Swearing in Ceremony Day.  The Swearing in Ceremony was a great success and the First Circuit is grateful to the city of Pensacola and the GAL volunteers who have been sworn in […]

Participate in the Princess Place Preserve Run to Support the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation supports the work of over 10,000 GAL volunteers, staff and child welfare professionals in giving a voice in court to Florida’s abused, neglected and abandoned children.  The GAL Foundation provides training for GAL volunteers and helps to support the needs of foster children that are not provided by the […]

Don’t Forget to Register for the Fort Pierce Regional Volunteer Conference!

What: Fort Pierce Regional Volunteer Conference Where: Havert Fenn Center When: Friday, October 28th ***Registration closes Friday, October 14th “I would strongly encourage any Guardian ad Litem volunteer to attend the nearest regional conference to them. I found the regional conference conducted in Gainesville in September to be not only highly informative but also very […]

St. Petersburg’s Linda Zolper Wins Statewide Award from Guardian ad Litem Program for Advocacy for Children

[Tallahassee, Florida] – Linda Zolper is making a difference in the lives of children who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected as a Guardian ad Litem Program Volunteer and was recently named the Program’s 2016 Audrey Lincourt Schiebler Volunteer of the Year. The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) advocates for the best interests of children […]

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Child Advocate Manager, Michael Harris Selected as a 2016 Angels in Adoption Honoree

  Congratulations to Michael Harris of the First Circuit for being recognized as a 2016 Angels in Adoption honoree  for the First Congressional District of Florida. Michael was nominated by Congressman Jeff Miller for his hard work and dedication to  the children he serves.   On Tuesday Michael was able to accept the award at a […]