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 the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Committee on Wednesday, January 13th. Several who presented were part of the child welfare system, and each brought up the increased number of children coming into care. The Committee seemed very interested in that fact, which led to a follow up committee meeting last Thursday, where the Committee requested DCF testify regarding the current state of the dependency system and if policies were in fact working. It was a great dialogue and we appreciated Wakulla Judge Jill Walker and previously, 9th Circuit Judge Daniel Dawson testifying and acknowledging the significant role of Guardian ad Litem in their courtroom.
We continue to meet with Legislators regarding the budget. Initial budget allocations should be given to each respective appropriations committee this week, which drives what priorities are initially included in the budget. We have successfully garnered support from legislators, who are seeking support as well from their committee chairs. We remain optimistic that our priorities will be included and believe we have made headway.
Our team is regularly working to move the ball forward and I will continue to update you in the coming weeks! During my meetings with legislative and governor’s, it is obvious that you are appreciated by the legislature and the Governor!
Thank you for your dedication to children!
Alan F. Abramowitz
Executive Director, Guardian ad Litem Program