Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Executive Director, Alan Abramowitz, revealed that Florida’s GAL Program has exceeded its goal of 10,000 volunteers who advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned children in courts throughout the state. Abramowitz made the announcement in recapping the agency’s success during the recently adjourned Florida Legislative Session. Although most states have a GAL Program of some kind, Florida’s success in recruiting volunteers sets the record for the nation.
Chester W. Spellman, Volunteer Florida CEO stated that, “Volunteer Florida applauds Guardian ad Litem’s achievement of engaging 10,000 volunteers. Guardian ad Litem continues to successfully leverage the human capital of volunteers to serve Florida’s most vulnerable children. We are proud to support their efforts.”
Abramowitz reported that a count of total volunteers at the end of February 2016 revealed that 10,056 Florida GAL citizen volunteers are trained and certified to work with children who are removed from their parents due to safety concerns. Most volunteers represent two or more abused children, visiting them at least once a month, and advising child welfare judges on options for assuring the child’s best interests.
“Our dedicated volunteers are the heart and soul of the GAL Program,” Abramowitz explained. “They speak for vulnerable, innocent children and hold government and private sector agencies accountable for their safety, security and best interests. Our volunteers receive nothing in return but the knowledge that they are making a difference in the lives of children.”
Abramowitz explained that anyone age 18 or older can become a volunteer, simply by participating in a local training course and meeting other qualifications. “A typical volunteer is as unique and diverse as our state’s population. We have doctors, students, special education teachers, Home Depot supervisors, stay-at-home moms, restaurant cooks, FBI agents, UPS delivery drivers, ages 21, 68, 32, 76, 44, 28, 57, 24, male, female, anyone.”
There are thousands of children who still need a voice. To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program, or to become a volunteer, visit www.Guardian adLitem.org or call 1-866-341-1GAL.