Legislative Update

After what seems to have been a long few weeks, I wanted to share with you where we landed. In Budget Conference, both the Senate and the House agreed to additionally fund approximately $1 million for out-of-home care, and approximately $1.4 million for in-home care (in cases where children are 3 years or younger). That […]

Registration Now Open for GAL Conference

Registration is now open for the 2016 Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program  invites you to join us at the 2016 Disabilities Training Conference: A Voice Heard – 10,000 Strong, to be held April 28-29, 2016 at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes Orlando. This is the third year for […]

Deborah Moore appointed to the National CASA Suburban Leadership Council

Congratulations to Circuit Director, Deborah Moore on her appointment to the National CASA Suburban Leadership Council. As you know, National CASA supports the mission of 949 CASA and GAL programs in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Deborah is a committed child welfare advocate with an immense amount of experience, determination and heart.  The […]

GAL Volunteer Gale Spires Honored with the Champion of Service Award

[Tallahassee, Florida] – During the March 2, 2016 Florida Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded the Champion of Service Award to Guardian ad Litem volunteer Gale Spires. The Champion of Service Award is Florida’s only statewide volunteer recognition.  The award recognizes a volunteer who demonstrates excellence in volunteerism and […]

Representative Ben Albritton Champion for Children in Foster Care

Representative Ben Albritton (R – Bartow) has been a terrific champion of foster youth and foster parents.  In the past, he sponsored several bills that became law to improve the lives of children and youth who have been removed from their homes.  This included the normalcy bill which later became Federal law and the Keys […]

Legislative Update – Budget Conference

GAL staff, volunteers and supporters: As we get to the budget decisions by the legislature it becomes more obvious to me that the work each of you do in the field has brought the GAL Program a level of credibility that few organizations have.  The public-partnership and our non-profits have impacted each legislature in their […]

Preventing Another “Phoebe” Tragedy – Letter from a GAL

A Guardian ad Litem Volunteer asks for help from the community to ensure that children have someone to be their “voice” We recently marked the one year anniversary of the horrific tragedy in which a little girl named Phoebe was thrown off the Skyway Bridge by her father. This unspeakable act has touched the hearts […]

Legislative Update – Budget

Team GAL: The 60 day Legislative Session comes to a close on March 11, 2016.  We are halfway through week 6 of session and I wanted to give you a quick update.  We continue to be very optimistic! To recap, in the initial budget, the Senate included approximately $1 million for out-of-home care and $1.4 […]

Legislative Update

As we close out the 4th week of the legislative session, I wanted to update you on our efforts. As you will recall, we submitted 5 legislative budget requests to the Legislature for consideration.  They pertained to in and out of home care, certification and salary adjustments.  Budgets were initially released last week and we […]

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 […]

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.   […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]