What is the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation?
The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation’s mission is to provide support and additional resources for children represented by the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office. To support the Statewide Office’s efforts to recruit, train, certify and retain volunteers. Promoting Guardian ad Litem multi-disciplinary team representation for abused, abandoned, and neglected children in court and the community.
What does the Guardian ad Litem Foundation do?
At any given time, in Florida there are more than 26,000 children in the child welfare system. Toddlers who were removed from their families because of abuse, abandonment or neglect. Children who have lost their parents and friends have often been separated from their brothers and sisters because the system is overstretched. Young teens have had to change homes and schools six or seven times in just a few years because, they are shuffled between temporary living situations.
You can help us give more children a fighting chance for a safer, happier life. Your investment in the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation will support the work that the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office does:
- Recruit and retain more Guardian ad Litem Volunteers /and pro-bono attorneys so every child in Florida’s dependency system has an adult from their community who will be a consistent, positive presence in the child’s life as part of a multi-disciplinary team that includes a Guardian ad Litem attorney, child welfare professional and hopefully a community volunteer providing the highest quality community advocacy and legal representation to protect each child’s legal interests.
- Provide high-quality training for Guardians ad Litem.
- Ensure we are as efficient, effective and successful as possible in fundraising and resource development, volunteer recruitment and retention, and public relations and communications.
- Advocate for policy changes in the child welfare system and increased public funding to support the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office.
- Provide emergency funds to cover unforeseen, disastrous events that can hinder our ability to provide services.
- Fund such things as medical needs for children represented by the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office.
- Provide monies for activities related to normalcy for children.
- TRIUMPH Award Program – Educational Scholarship
- Unrestricted funds allow us to provide much needed assistance in a timely fashion.
Based on data and evidence, the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office is the best way to represent the legal interests of Florida’s most vulnerable children, the abused, abandoned and neglected. Florida law requires the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office to represent Florida’s children caught in the complex foster care system every day through no fault of their own. They face a world of temporary living situations and intervening professionals with a high turnover rate. The Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office is the only agency on the child’s case that focuses only on the child and represents the child’s legal interests in court and their social needs in the community.
Every child appointed to the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office is assigned a Guardian ad Litem Attorney.
The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office uses a multi-disciplinary team approach to represent children using a Guardian ad Litem Attorney, a child welfare professional, and hopefully a trained volunteer or pro bono attorney from the child’s community. The Office’s multi-disciplinary team model has been recognized as best practice in child representation since 1993 and is the recommended practice by many advocacy organizations, including the Quality Improvement Center on the Representation of Children in the Child Welfare System. The unique perspective and expertise of each multi-disciplinary team member complement the others. All are critical in Florida’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children.
The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office has more than 180 attorneys on staff and hundreds of pro-bono attorneys throughout Florida who volunteer their services.
In 2022, the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office served more than 36,000 children in Florida and had more than 11,000 volunteers. However, some children who still need representation of their legal interests in court and their social needs in the community. Whether through grants, individual or corporate donations, or time, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation has continually worked to provide support to children involved in Florida’s dependency system.
When a specific need is identified, the Foundation provides targeted support for the unique and unfunded needs of the children the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office represents.