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 from the National CASA Association, which distributes funds from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, for the purpose of increasing the number of maltreated children who are assigned a volunteer guardian ad litem (GAL) to advocate for their best interests.

Alan Abramowitz, the statewide GAL office’s executive director, said the new grant will continue his Program’s Fostering Futures Training Initiative, which focuses on advocacy and mentoring for older youth by providing them with volunteers specifically trained to serve as the one significant adult relationship they need to help them transition to adulthood.

“This grant will change the course of negative outcomes for older youth in care,” Abramowitz said. “It’s a perfect fit for our efforts to help dependent teens ‘aging out’ of care succeed.”

“Volunteer Florida congratulates Florida Guardian ad Litem for securing this grant to expand training to the volunteers who advocate for young people in the foster care system,” said Chester W. Spellman, Volunteer Florida Chief Executive Officer. “This funding not only increases the number of volunteers statewide, but ensures that volunteers have the unique training they need to mentor youth in foster care and help them become self-advocates as they become older.”

Abramowitz said the new grant award was based on the Florida Program’s success from 2014 to 2016. Of the 179 youth served during that time, he added, 76 percent were promoted to the next grade level, while 96 percent had clean arrest and delinquency records.