Search Results for "sign+in"

Section 39.806(1)(d)(2) and Constitutional Challenge-Court rejects father’s argument that ground for termination of parental rights based on incarceration and designation as a sexual predator is unconstitutional

C.H. v. Dep’t of Children & Families (In the Interest C.M.H.), 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 12221, 2018 WL 4100187 Father appealed the order terminating his parental rights pursuant to § 39.806(1)(d)2 which requires, in relevant part, a finding that the parent is incarcerated and has been designated a sexual predator. He did not contest these […]

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 […]

Governor Rick Scott Signs Regis Little Act to Protect Children

Tallahassee, Florida] -  Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law the Regis Little Act to Protect Children with Special Needs, which ensures vulnerable foster youth have a guardian in place at age 18. In 2008, Regis Little was a child of Florida’s foster care system.  With an IQ of 65, he was bipolar, hyperactive, […]


[Tallahassee] –The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program on Friday released a training video about abusive head trauma in young children, created in partnership with the Florida Department of Health and Dr. Bruce McIntosh, medical director of the state’s Child Protection Team. The video’s release follows the death of two-year-old Jordan Belliveau from a blow to […]


  [Tallahassee] – The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program honored State Representative Tyler I. Sirois of Merritt Island on Friday for his leadership in sponsoring a measure to help abused and neglected children in dependency court. The Program made Representative Sirois an “Honorary Guardian ad Litem” for his role as the House sponsor of “Charting […]


[Bartow] – The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program surprised Sen. Ben Albritton of Wauchula on Wednesday with a ceremony honoring him as its “Legislator of the Year” for his leadership in bettering the lives of abused, abandoned and neglected children. About 110 staff, volunteers and supporters crowded the Bartow Library to surprise the senator, led […]


[Tallahassee] – The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is honoring Rep. Spencer Roach of North Fort Myers as its “House Member of the Year” for his leadership in sponsoring a bill designed to reduce the amount of time abused and neglected children spend in foster care. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that bill on Tuesday. A […]

Cyclist Completes Coast-to-Coast Ride for Abused, Neglected Children in St. Augustine  

[St. Augustine, FL]  – The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is celebrating as cyclist Chris Dieringer completes his ride from California to raise awareness for programs serving abused, abandoned and neglected children. He arrived in St. Augustine on Saturday and dipped his front tire at Crescent Beach. Dieringer began his journey in San Diego on […]

Sections 39.806(1)(e)(1) and (3)-Evidence did not support the termination of a mother’s parental rights under Sections 39.806(1)(e)(1) or (3) for case plan noncompliance where review of the record showed mother had successfully completed all tasks in her case plans

C.R. v. Dep’t of Children & Families, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 11041 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. August 8, 2018) The Third DCA reversed and remanded the order that terminated mother’s parental rights pursuant to §§ 39.806(1)(e)(1) and 39.806(1)(e)(3), because the evidence did not support the trial court’s finding that mother had failed to […]

The Department of Children and Families argued TPR should be overturned. The Guardian ad Litem disagreed and TPR was affirmed securing an opinion that pursuant to § 39.806(1)(e)2 the trial court may properly consider a parent’s non-compliance with a previous case plan when terminating parental rights based on material breach of the amended case plan

W.D. v. Dep’t of Children & Families, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 14315 Nearly three years after the children were removed, the trial court terminated father’s parental rights based on the material breach of his case plan which had been amended after a previous permanent guardianship placement failed. Although the Department filed and prevailed on the […]


GAL Completed the Youth Advocacy Grant [Tallahassee, Florida] – The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program has successfully completed a national youth advocacy grant aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s abused, abandoned and neglected children. Thanks to the $37,000 grant from the National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Association, the GAL Program trained […]


Each year the GAL Program recognizes GAL volunteers, GAL staff, and community supporters for their tireless work and dedication to the Program. It is always extremely difficult for the judging panel to review everyone’s nominations. We have so many great volunteers, employees, and supporters – reading these nominations reinforces the dedication and drive they have for […]

Proper Service, Failure to Appear and Constructive Consent to Dependency-Trial court correctly ruled that the mother’s presence at the shelter hearing obviated the need for service of process of the dependency petition and that mother’s failure to attend the arraignment hearing constituted a constructive consent to the adjudication of dependency

C.J.L–M. v. Department of Children and Families, — So.3d —- (2018) Mother appeared at the shelter hearing and was appointed an attorney. After the court found probable cause for removal, mother signed and was given a copy of the shelter order and notice of hearing which listed the date, time, and location of the arraignment […]

Go the Extra Mile – Volunteer Mileage Reimbursement

Dear Volunteers: The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) 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 […]

§39.806(1)(b)-Abandonment and Termination of Parental Rights of Incarcerated Parent. Trial court erred in terminating father’s parental rights on the ground of abandonment due to incarceration.

B.F. v. State, Department of Children and Families, — So.3d —- (2018) Child was sheltered at 4 months of age. When child was two years old, the Department filed a petition to terminate father’s parental rights based upon several grounds. Father was in and out of jail for a significant portion of the dependency and […]

Expedited TPR Pursuant to section 39.806(1)(m) and Least Restrictive Means-Least restrictive means analysis does not require a reunification case plan for biological father of child conceived by sexual battery

In Interest of X.W., 2018 WL 793733 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018) The GAL filed an expedited petition to terminate biological father’s parental rights based on his sexual battery of mother when he was twenty-six and she was just eleven years old, and which resulted in the conception of the child, X.W. Despite finding the GAL […]

Educational Advocacy Webinars

The Educational Advocacy Webinars are recorded versions of live webinars that are presented on a monthly basis. The presenter, Katie V. Kelly, Ph.D., Esq. is the Supervising Attorney for the Children’s Rights Unit of the Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida, Inc. We are extremely grateful and indebted to Dr. Kelly for sharing her time and […]

2018 GAL Disabilities Training Conference

  Registration is live for the 2018 GAL Disabilities Training Conference. REGISTER TODAY!   Each year the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program holds a conference for child welfare attorneys, child welfare professionals, and judges who represent and work with dependent children with disabilities. This popular conference is known for its advanced material and workshops. The […]

Dade County Bar Honors Guardian ad Litem Attorney

[Tallahassee, Florida] – The Dade County Bar Association has named Frances Feinberg, director of the program that represents child victims and witnesses in Miami-Dade criminal court, as one of its Women of Distinction for 2018. Feinberg, who oversees Guardian ad Litem’s Criminal Court Project for the 11th Judicial Circuit, won the Dade Bar’s Women of […]

Legislative Update – Priorities in 2018 Session

  Volunteers, Friends, Staff, It’s hard to believe, but the 2018 Legislative Session is upon us! The 2018 Regular Session convenes January 9, 2018 and ends March 9, 2018. You will recall during the 2017 regular session, the Guardian ad Litem Program championed 3 substantive proposals and 1 significant budget proposal, which have all been […]

Circuit Team Award – Vince Rieger, Pat Smith, Pam Peterson, & Kari Marsland-Petit

Team advocacy for the child’s best interests is the hallmark of the GAL Program, and the work of Circuit 6 team – Vince Rieger (Volunteer), Pat Smith (Volunteer), Pam Peterson (Child Advocate Manager), and Kari Marsland-Petit (Best Interests Attorney). They demonstrate why this collaboration is so important for children. Pat and Pam were assigned a […]

Daniel P. Dawson Award – Natalee Hamilton

The GAL Program is honored to award Natalee Hamilton, Senior Child’s Best Interest Attorney in Circuit 19, the Judge Dawson Award. In her nomination, Natalee was described as enthusiastic, dedicated, and passionate. Her supreme knowledge of the law and world-class courtroom skills are some of the things that inspired her colleagues to submit her name.  In […]

Postdisposition Change of Custody: Order effectively granting reunification quashed where dependency court failed to apply proper statutory provisions, misconstrued the evidence and findings were not supported by competent substantial evidence.

In the Interest of I.N., a child. E.N., Petitioner, v…., — So.3d —- (2017) The Second DCA reversed a trial court’s order which “effectively reunified” a child with a father who is alleged to have sexually abused the child. The DCA found that the trial court departed from the essential requirements of law by failing […]

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 […]

Angela Orkin Dedication Award Given to Dennis Moore, General Counsel

Throughout his tenure Dennis has demonstrated his commitment to the Program’s success, working tirelessly to assist the Program to achieve its mission. This year, Dennis was integral in ensuring legislation was passed that significantly impacts the lives of many of Florida’s dependent children – The Child’s Best Hope Act.  Dennis drafted legislation, met with legislators, […]

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 […]

Conferences and Training ~ Archive 2015

<BACK Attorney conference calls provide up-to-date information on topics related to legal advocacy. These trainings are conducted by both Program staff and experts from outside the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Each hour long presentation has been approved for CLE credit (CLE Credit is good for 18 months from the Conference Date). Below you will […]

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 […]

GAL Connect! Monthly Webinars

  May Webinar On May 25 at 12 pm you can learn about creating an environment where volunteers feel protected and supported is directly related to the strength of our system as a whole.  The “How Study is Your Tree” webinar addresses ways to reach the mission of being for the child by identifying the roots […]

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 […]

M.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 2016 WL 6612173 (Fla. 3rd DCA)

This case was previously brought before the Third District Court of Appeal (Third DCA) and the court reversed termination of the Mother’s rights and directed the court to determine whether the evidence supported adjudication of dependency rather than termination. M.C. v. Department of Children and Families, 186 So. 3d 74 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016). On remand, without hearing any […]

In re J.H., 2016 WL 6777133 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) appealed an order dismissing a dependency petition for two siblings while adjudicating the third sibling. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA) reversed dismissal of the two petitions finding the trial court failed to recognize the nexus between the severe abuse of Le.H. and the substantial risk of […]

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. […]

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 […]

Training Documents

Volunteer Training / Phase 1 Independent Study Child Development Scenarios Child Visitation Report Court Report Template Domestic Violence Scenario (Ann)  GAL Transportation Policy GAL  Transporter How the Child Welfare System Works Infant and Toddler Warning Signs Let Kids Be Kids Law / Normalcy Act  Normalcy Checklist (2014) Substance Abuse Scenario (Jones) Substance Abuse Scenario (Samuel) […]

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 […]

In re Le.H., 2016 WL 3001283 (Fla. 2nd DCA)

Both the parents and the Guardian ad litem Program filed petitions for a writ of certiorari to review an order sheltering one child but denying to shelter his siblings. The Second District Court of Appeal (Second DCA), denied the parents’ petition but granted the GAL’s petition and quashed the portion of the order denying to […]

2016 Disabilities Training Conference – A Voice Heard

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 […]