Go the Extra Mile – Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement

Dear Volunteers:

The Guardian ad Litem Program is extremely grateful for the dedication and support of the thousands of volunteers around the State. We realize that many of you incur a lot of travel costs each year in your efforts to take care of the children in our care. As many of you are aware, the Florida Legislature now includes $321,000 in the Guardian ad Litem budget each year to reimburse volunteers for certain extraordinary travel expenses.

For the last year we have been refining our processes so that volunteers are reimbursed in the most efficient manner possible. Our goal has been to find a balance so the required accounting processes do not frustrate or slow down the reimbursement processes. In May 2019, we asked all volunteers to start sending their travel directly to the State Office (travel@gal.fl.gov). Unfortunately, this shortcut didn’t build in the required step so that auditors can verify the travel.

To address our auditing issue, we decided to create a Volunteer Verification Form that volunteers must include with all travel reimbursement forms sent to the State Office. By signing the Volunteer Verification form, volunteers will certify that all travel information has been recorded in Optima and the travel included on the travel reimbursement form is consistent with the eligibility requirements listed below.

Guardian ad Litem also strongly encourages all volunteers to sign up for Direct Deposit. Doing so will eliminate the possibility of your travel reimbursement being sent to an old address or otherwise being lost in the mail. We have found that travelers with Direct Deposit generally receive their payments at least a week sooner than those who rely on paper checks. To sign up for Direct Deposit, please complete the Direct Deposit form located at the bottom of this page and mail it back to the address located on the form. It will take a couple of weeks for the Department of Financial Services to receive and set up your Direct Deposit. After that, your travel payments will be made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) directly to your bank account.

Finally, I have authorized additional support in the Budget Office to assist with processing volunteer travel and staff in the Statewide Budget office are always ready to assist you with your travel reimbursements questions or issues. We all welcome your feedback and suggestions about the volunteer travel reimbursement program. Our staff will review the effectiveness and efficiency of our processes every 6 months and make adjustments as necessary.

Volunteer Extraordinary Travel reimbursement requirements

As a GAL volunteer, you may request a reimbursement for travel expenses if:

    • Your trip was more than 25 miles (round trip) and related to your duties as a child advocate. Eligible trips include:
      • You travel more than 25 miles to visit a child, sibling or family of a child you are appointed to represent
      • You travel more than 25 miles to attend an important event in the child’s life such as a college visit, a family event, a job interview, or a relative’s funeral
      • You travel more than 25 miles to attend a training session required by the Guardian ad Litem Program.
  • OR
    • You transport a courthouse dog to a GAL-related event where the dog will comfort or support kids;
  • OR
    • You travel out of state or need to fly out of state (NOTE: out of state, overnight and air travel require advance approval from the Circuit Director and Director of Operations);
  • OR
    • You volunteer 10 or more hours during the week (Saturday through Friday). GAL will only reimburse volunteers for the trips taken after the 10-hour work requirement is satisfied.

Volunteer Travel Contact Information:

Kevin Askew is the Volunteer Travel Coordinator for the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program. You may contact him directly at (850) 329-1429 if you have any questions or need assistance when completing a Travel Reimbursement Form. If you are unable to reach Kevin, you may also contact your local Human Resources and Budget Liaison for assistance in completing and submitting travel reimbursement forms.

The process for submitting a travel reimbursement request is detailed in the attached Processes and Procedures document. Thanks again for all that you do to help abused and neglected children.

Non-Employee Direct Deposit
Travel Reimbursement Form
Travel Reimbursement Form (Editable)
Vendor Information Form
Volunteer Travel Payment Processes and Procedures
Volunteer Verification Form