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"Keys to Independence"

The “Keys to Independence” bill passed in 2014 establishes a pilot program to promote safe driving, driver education and insurance reimbursement for foster youth.  The three-year program reimburses youth and caregivers for the costs associated with driver’s education, driver’s licenses and other costs related to getting a driver's license and insurance.  To learn more and to apply for the program managed by Community Based Care of Central Florida visit the website at www.keystoindependence.org .  The website includes a wealth of information where you will find eligibility requirements, how to apply, FAQs and all the documents you need to make sure teens get a driver’s license.

"GAL Foundation receives $70,000 donation!"

James and Nadia Loney were honored as an “Honorary Guardian ad Litem” on Sunday, August 3, 2014. James and his wife Nadia are featured in Public Service Announcements to recruit volunteer guardians to advocate for children and Nadia has been very involved with the Program this past year.

“Each day, GAL volunteers help shape the future and create hope for the children of Florida who have been abused and neglected. Their work is a pursuit of the heart. There are many people in the community who work tirelessly for Florida’s children; James and Nadia’s work for children is also a pursuit of the heart. The Guardian ad Litem Program recognizes James and Nadia as an Honorary Guardian ad Litem with gratitude for their contribution to children,” stated Executive Director, Alan Abramowitz.

In a surprise pregame ceremony, Rays first baseman James Loney and his wife Nadia presented a check for $70,000 to the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay.

The funds have been awarded by the Rays Baseball Foundation through the Loneys' yearly contribution to the Rays official charity.

The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay provides financial assistance to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program. Guardian ad Litem is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff who provide a powerful voice on behalf of abused and neglected children. The state now has over 10,000 volunteers with over 9,200 whom give abused and neglected children a voice.

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"Let Kids Be Kids"

Early in 2014 Senate President Don Gaetz posed this question: “How do we know whether the laws we pass have the intended results?” The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program took this question to heart and decided that the program would determine whether the “Let Kids be Kids” bill passed in 2013 is allowing youth in foster care to have opportunities like any other youth in the community.

This report presents the findings of a survey of foster parents, Guardian ad Litem volunteers, and Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Regional Directors to determine the impact of this new law. The results show that “Let Kids be Kids” is a success about which Florida can be very proud.

Bill sponsors Senator Nancy Detert and Representative Ben Albritton listened to Guardian ad Litem volunteers, Foster Parents, members of Youth SHINE and other child advocates, as they crafted the law. House Speaker Will Weatherford and his wife, Courtney, an active Guardian ad Litem herself, were also committed to make the proposal a reality. The historic legislation became effective July 1, 2013. The impact of this law validates that we all do better when we listen to the children who are most affected.

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"A Voice Heard: Keys to Independence Act"

"Governor Scott and CEO Spellman Present Henry and Charlean Lawton, Guardians ad Litem, with Champion of Service Award"

At this week's meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman presented the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award to Henry and Charlean Lawton, who serve as guardians ad litem in Jacksonville.

Mr. and Mrs. Lawton, retired from their careers as business executives, have effectively handled some of the Guardian ad Litem Program’s most severe cases of abuse and neglect. They are also active in speaking to new guardians ad litem and they serve on the organization’s volunteer planning committees to expand the reach of the Guardian ad Litem Program.

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"Tallahassee GAL Wins Volunteer of the Year!"

The Tallahassee Democrat
By Jordan Culver | The Tallahassee Democrat honored its 2013 Volunteers of the Year Thursday afternoon during a cermony in a packed University Center Club at Florida State University.

Categories included arts, business and government agancies, civic services, education, nonprofit organizations, religion and social services and youth. The Jeferson Award for Public Service honoree was then chosen from the winners of those categories.

Jan Watford, who volunteers with Leon County's guardian ad litem program, was chosen as the Civic Services Volunteer of the Year and was also this year's Jefferson Award winner. She will travel to Washington to complete in the national competition.

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"Guardian ad Litem Program Releases 2013 Legislative Status Report, A Voice Heard, Building Trust and Hope."

“I am pleased to provide you with the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program’s 2013 Status Report, entitled, A Voice Heard: Building Trust and Hope, outlines the benefits of legislation passed in the 2012 session to allow GAL volunteers to transport the children they represent. I have also sent it to our volunteer contact list.

As you will see from reading the report, this legislation has opened communication and opportunities for children consistent with the intent of the law; children are bonding with their GALs and opening up to them in ways that promote their growth and development. Guardian ad Litem volunteers are unanimously positive about the value of the transportation option, and the impact it makes on their ability to represent the best interests of children.

Thank each of you for what do for children. Your dedication inspires so many. I value your commitment to the children we serve.”

--Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director

To read the 2013 report, go to: "A Voice Heard: Building Trust and Hope"
To view the 2012 report, go to: "A Voice Heard"

"Governor Rick Scott Proclamation for Guardian ad Litem Day."

WHEREAS, the Guardian ad Litem Program's sole mission is to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children involved in dependency court proceedings; and WHEREAS the Guardian ad Litem Program currently oversees a growing population of more than 8,200 dedicated and talented volunteers; and...
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"Guardian ad Litem Day Invitation - April 4, 2013"

The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation will celebrate its annual Guardian ad Litem Day on April 4, 2013, with a reception honoring Guardians ad Litem across Florida at the 1st District Court of Appeals, 2000 Drayton Dr., Tallahassee, from 4-6 PM. The event is free and open to the public.
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"Protecting the vulnerable State appoints guardians to help foster children"

Hundreds of children are under court supervision in Lake County. Most of these 423 children have been abandoned or removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect, and placed with relatives, foster parents or in group homes. To ensure children like these are heard within the state's child protection bureaucracy, the state requires that the courts appoint each one a guardian ad litem, an independent advocate.
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"Jessica Allen Named Circuit Director For Miami"

Alan F. Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Office, announced today that Jessica Allen, currently the Supervising Attorney for the GAL Program in Miami-Dade County, will assume responsibilities of Circuit Director for the 11th Judicial Circuit effective January 28, 2013.
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"Foster Care System Lacks ‘Normalcy'"

The Ledger

As the executive director of the statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, I talk to many children and teenagers who live in foster and group homes. These conversations often center around their complaints about a lack of a normal life.
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"Using Scorecards to Promote Accountability in Advocacy"

The author explains how the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is assessing the program’s overall effectiveness and quantifying the influence that GAL volunteers can have on improving child welfare outcomes using a guardian ad litem scorecard.
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"Jupiter attorney named head of Guardian ad Litem Program in Palm Beach County"

Palm Beach County attorney Kristen Solomon this week was appointed Circuit Director of the Guardian ad Litem Program in the 15th Judicial Circuit, which covers Palm Beach County. Solomon, who has been serving as interim circuit director since July, previously served as supervising attorney for the program, which pairs volunteer guardians with children currently in the court system. Statewide, the GAL program recruits more than 8,000 volunteers to advocate for children in the dependency court system. As circuit director, Solomon will lead a program that works with more than 1,000 children and over 400 volunteer child advocates. Solomon began as a volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program when she was still in law school in Jacksonville. After graduating, she continued volunteering with the program and was named “Rookie of the Year” for her work with the 4th Judicial Circuit in the Jacksonville area. In 2008, she was hired as a program attorney in Palm Beach County, and eventually worked her way up to supervising attorney. Solomon earned degrees is psychology and criminology from the University of Florida, and later received a law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She and her husband, attorney Ferris Solomon, have one daughter, and live in Jupiter.
To become a GAL volunteer, call (561) 355-6224 or (866) 341-1425.

"New law makes life easier for court-appointed guardians"

TAMPA — Pat Provance tapped on a screen porch lined with black metal bars. She ran a hand over her close-cropped gray hair, smoothed her tennis skirt. Provance peered in a dark living room...
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"Thumb up: Change in law should provide some new benefits to ..."

TCPalm By Editorial Board TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME: Among new laws that took effect in Florida on July 1 was Senate Bill 1960, which allows Guardian ad Litem ...
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"Guardian Ad Litem Program: Role of Child Advocates Expanding"

The Ledger
By Eric Pera LAKELAND | A new law is seen as a boon to recruitment and retention of Florida's Guardian Ad Litem program, which provides paid and volunteer ...
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"Florida Face to Face – Alan Abramowitz"

Face to Face interview with Beth Switzer discussing the volunteer child advocates with Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

Film Reel Video:
Click here to see the video.

"Final Transportation Guidelines effective June 1, 2012"

The purpose of allowing Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteer child advocates to transport children in foster care is to promote social, extracurricular and enrichment activities for children; and to foster communication and relationships which in turn enhances child safety by facilitating trust between the volunteer and child. Participation is on a voluntary basis. These guidelines clarify who may transport, pre-qualifying conditions that must be met by the volunteer, and the process required to gain final authorization.
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"2012 Florida Guardian ad Litem Transportation Project"

The Guardian ad Litem Program thanks the many GAL volunteer child advocates and staff who supported the Program’s Transportation Project. The circuits and volunteers who participated in the project are true trailblazers for Florida’s dependent children. Started in June 2011, the project empowers GAL volunteers by giving them another tool to utilize in advocating for and protecting children. The project clearly exceeded every expectation the Program had for it.
Read entire article.

Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office, Guardian ad Litem Standards of Operation -  Effective March 1, 2006

Click Here to View Archived News From 2012

Click Here to View Archived News From 2011

Click Here to View Archived News From 2010

Click Here to View Archived News From 2009

Click Here to View Archived News From 2008

Click Here to View Archived News From 2006 ~ 2007

Click Here to View Archived News From 2004 ~ 2005

Click Here to Read Archived Annual Reports and Long-Range Program Plans


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