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 cases, specifically children birth-3 years old (as they are the most vulnerable and most are unable to communicate), $577,000 to create and implement a new staff certification program, and approximately $2 million for attorneys and professional staff salary adjustments.

Our team has been diligently working for many months and we are optimistic that the Legislature will fund most of our requests.  In light of our program not receiving additional funding in the last fiscal year, we changed our strategy, streamlined our requests and the GAL Statewide Foundation retained a lobbyist to aid our efforts.  A big THANK YOU to several local foundations who have contributed to this effort!

We continue to push salary adjustments for our staff and have provided those budget requests to both the Governor and the Legislature.  As has occurred in the past, any request pertaining to salary adjustments are all considered together and the General Appropriations Committees in both the Senate and House will discuss at one time (typically later in the legislative session).  There is also consideration of a cost of living increase for state employees by the Senate.

We have met with dozens of legislators over the past six months and have received positive feedback.  Tomorrow, I will be presenting GAL’s budget priorities to the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee with the exception of salary adjustments, due to that occurring at the General Appropriations level and is not considered at this committee.

A special thanks for our Non-Profits who funded a lobbyist to assist this year.  It is making a major difference.

We will keep you updated throughout the legislative process.  THANK YOU for all you do for the kids – there would be no GAL program without our terrific volunteers!  You are valued and appreciated.  We hope to be celebrating in 60 days!  Please feel free to contact me if you should have any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Alans Signature

Alan Abramowitz
Executive Director
Guardian ad Litem Program

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