2017 Guardian ad Litem Annual Report Now Available

This year, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Annual Report – Making the Impossible Possible:  Stories of Advocacy, is a look into the lives of our GAL volunteers, staff and attorneys. Sometimes the best way to understand an idea or a point of view is through story telling.  Whether it is a fable that teaches […]

Video: The Effects of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Babies and Children

This video, The Effects of Exposure to Domestic Violence on Babies and Children, produced by the 11th Circuit (Miami) and featuring Judge Carroll Kelly and Judge Orlando Prescott, provides valuable information about the severe and lasting negative impact that exposure to domestic violence has on babies and children. This video also teaches that babies and children […]

Available Now – GAL Volunteer Pre-Service Training Course with Interpreters and Closed Captioning

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is proud to announce a new series of guardian ad litem volunteer pre-service training videos – GAL Volunteer Training Course with Interpreters and Closed Captioning for the hearing impaired community.    These videos are available as a resource for those potential GAL volunteers who have a hearing impairment and would […]

Alan Abramowitz Reappointed as Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office

  [Tallahassee, Florida] –  Lori Duarte-Roberts, Chairperson of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation Board of Directors, announces Alan Abramowitz is reappointed by Governor Rick Scott as the Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office.    Over 10,000 Floridians volunteer for the Guardian ad Litem Program, an organization whose mission is to advocate […]

Senate Bill 60 by Senator Bean – Children Obtaining Driver Licenses Subcommittee Hearing

Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services:  Wednesday, February 8th, 2:00—4:00 p.m.,  at 401 Senate Office Building. Senate Bill 60  – The Keys to Independence Bill will be heard in its second committee on February 8th at 2 PM.  There are six anticipated committee hearings in the Legislature regarding this important legislation. The members of […]

SB 60 on Children Obtaining Driver Licenses Unanimously Passes Committee

On January 23 the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs met to discuss Senate Bill 60.  They heard testimony from advocates and former foster youth from Youth SHINE.  The bill makes the “Keys to Independence”  pilot project permanent – paving the way for foster children to get their learner permits and drivers license.  The bill […]

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan and Sen. Aaron Bean sponsoring legislation to make The Florida Keys to Independence Act for foster children a permanent program

Rep. Jennifer Sullivan, R-Mount Dora, and Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, are sponsoring legislation this year to make The Florida Keys to Independence Act for foster  children a  permanent program. The Florida Keys to Independence Act was signed into law in 2014. It is targeted at youth in licensed foster care between the ages of […]

A Note of Appreciation for Legal Advocacy At Its Best

“As you may know, although I’ve been a judge for ten years, I’ve presided in Dependency court for a mere three months. Consequently, I come with vast exposure to the caliber of lawyer practicing in Miami, but somewhat limited experience in the Juvenile Division.  It’s from that context that I wanted to take the occasion […]

Volunteer Champion of Service Award Awarded to GAL Dorothy Binger

During the December 6, 2016 Florida Cabinet meeting, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman awarded the Volunteer Champion of Service Award to Guardian ad Litem volunteer Dorothy Binger. The Champion of Service Award is Florida’s only statewide volunteer recognition.  The award recognizes a volunteer who demonstrates excellence in volunteerism and community service. “Ms. Dot” […]

Announcement of Attorney Awards for Excellence in Advocacy for Children with Special Needs

The Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program announced today that 21 attorneys were named as winners of the Program’s award for Excellence in Advocacy for special needs children who have been abused or neglected.  Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, made the announcement noting that these attorneys had distinguished themselves in the courtroom as champions for children. […]

I Could Not Say it Better than GAL Volunteer Alaina Machado.

As a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem I get all types of different questions. “Do you get paid?” I answer “No, all Guardians as Litem are actually volunteers.” “Oh… you do it because you need the volunteer hours for school?” Again my answer is no. The last and more common question is, “How can you  do […]

Great News in the First Circuit!

Recently the city of Pensacola and Pensacola’s Mayor Ashton J. Hayward, offered a proclamation that Tuesday October 18th was Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Swearing in Ceremony Day.  The Swearing in Ceremony was a great success and the First Circuit is grateful to the city of Pensacola and the GAL volunteers who have been sworn in […]

Participate in the Princess Place Preserve Run to Support the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation supports the work of over 10,000 GAL volunteers, staff and child welfare professionals in giving a voice in court to Florida’s abused, neglected and abandoned children.  The GAL Foundation provides training for GAL volunteers and helps to support the needs of foster children that are not provided by the […]

Don’t Forget to Register for the Fort Pierce Regional Volunteer Conference!

What: Fort Pierce Regional Volunteer Conference Where: Havert Fenn Center When: Friday, October 28th ***Registration closes Friday, October 14th “I would strongly encourage any Guardian ad Litem volunteer to attend the nearest regional conference to them. I found the regional conference conducted in Gainesville in September to be not only highly informative but also very […]

St. Petersburg’s Linda Zolper Wins Statewide Award from Guardian ad Litem Program for Advocacy for Children

[Tallahassee, Florida] – Linda Zolper is making a difference in the lives of children who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected as a Guardian ad Litem Program Volunteer and was recently named the Program’s 2016 Audrey Lincourt Schiebler Volunteer of the Year. The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) advocates for the best interests of children […]

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Child Advocate Manager, Michael Harris Selected as a 2016 Angels in Adoption Honoree

  Congratulations to Michael Harris of the First Circuit for being recognized as a 2016 Angels in Adoption honoree  for the First Congressional District of Florida. Michael was nominated by Congressman Jeff Miller for his hard work and dedication to  the children he serves.   On Tuesday Michael was able to accept the award at a […]

Register for the Gainesville Regional Volunteer Conference

DON’T FORGET TO REGISTER! WHAT: Gainesville Regional Volunteer Conference WHERE: Best Western Gateway Grand, Gainesville, FL WHEN: Friday, September 23. **Registration closes Friday, September 9. The GAL Foundation is excited to announce Judge David Gooding will be presenting the Judges Perspective Workshop. Judge Gooding has been a huge advocate of the GAL Program and stated […]

Poem from a Sixth Circuit Volunteer

Unsung Heroes Everyone knows the super heroes and the heroes of times past. History recounts many stories of heroes, stories that really last. Robin Hood comes to the rescue; soldiers defend us in great wars. We learn of fireman, police officers, films where the lion roars. But there is a group of quiet, silent, and […]

2016 Disabilities Conference Videos Available for CLE Credit on the GAL Website

This year over 450 attorneys, judges and child welfare professionals attended the Third Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Disabilities Training Conference.  The keynote speakers were inspiring thought provoking and gave us all tools to use in helping the children we work with every day.  The workshops were wide ranging with presenters sharing their expertise in areas such […]

Kathryn Hochmuth Receives the GAL Impact Award – Named in Honor of Akerman LLP

The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program announces the first recipient of the “Impact Award”named in honor of the national law firm, Akerman LLP. Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, announced today that the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program honored, Pensacola-based Child’s Best Interest Attorney, Kathryn Hochmuth […]

Governor Rick Scott Appoints Four to Children and Youth Cabinet

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced three appointments and one reappointment to the Children and Youth Cabinet. Nelson Diaz, 38, of Miami, is the immediate past president and current board member of Kristi House Child Advocacy Center and was the 2014 recipient of the National Children’s Alliance highest award for volunteer service, the […]

Legislative Updates

HB 590 – House Bill 590 was the Program’s initiative called the Child’s Best Hope Act.  Currently, in Chapter 63 proceedings when a dependent child is surrendered to an adoption entity, the court is only permitted to determine whether the placement was fit and proper.  The bill adds the best interests of the child to […]

Have You Registered for the GAL Disabilities Training Conference?

Michael Arden – an actor, singer, composer and stage director is coming to the GAL Disabilities Training Conference are you registered? In addition to directing, acting in movies and on Broadway, Michael has been in television shows including The Good Wife, Grey’s Anatomy, Numb3rs, Anger Management, and Kings.  He also guest starred in episodes of […]

Governor Scott Signs the Child’s Best Hope Law – Supportive Words from the Advocacy Community

On Wednesday, March 23, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Child’s Best Hope Act into law.  By signing this bill, Governor Scott is ensuring the best interests of Florida’s most vulnerable children is paramount.  The new law allows judges to make decisions regarding adoption intervention using the child’s best interest standard. The Problem – The […]

Register Now for the Florida GAL Disabilities Training Conference!

Nationally recognized legal and policy expert Jonathan Martinis, Esq., Senior Director for Law and Policy at the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University is returning this year to the GAL Disabilities Training Conference as a keynote speaker.  Mr. Martinis has over 20 years’ experience representing and advocating for people with disabilities to ensure that they […]

Thank You Judge Layne Smith

Last night, over 35 Guardian ad Litem volunteers and staff (almost standing room only) attended a continuing education session with Judge Layne Smith, our guest presenter.  Judge Smith shared information about the court testimony process and criteria.  Staff and volunteers were informed about what to expect in court as a witness, how to prepare for […]

Tibet is Coming to the GAL Disabilities Conference

Tibet the Courthouse Dog, a program of Voices for Children of Tampa Bay, will take the stage with presenters from the GAL Program and Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc. to explain how a professionally trained facility dog can help in achieving safety and permanency for a child who has experienced severe trauma and has sensory […]

Broadway’s Spring Awakening at the GAL Disabilities Training Conference

Excited about the GAL Disabilities Training Conference in April?  So are we!  Lead actors from the Broadway production of Spring Awakening will join the Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Conference to inspire us through their experiences of performing on Broadway and bringing musical theatre to the deaf community. The actors will perform songs from  Spring Awakening, […]

Great News for Child Best Hope Advocates

Today we were validated in pursuing what we call the “Child Best Hope” Act.  Although sadly we did not prevail in an adoption intervention case for a child, the court specifically mentions that the policy concerns are being addressed by SB 590.  My prayers and thoughts go out to J.R., the child involved in the […]

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 […]