The Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program is proud to support the "I Am for the Child" public awareness campaign recently launched by the National CASA Association.
The purpose of the campaign is to create a national movement behind the goal of every child receiving a court appointed volunteer guardian ad litem to represent their best interests.
Watch the videos, listen to the PSAs and learn more about court appointed special advocates, the "I Am for the Child" campaign and our mutual goals. You can also download a flyer featuring supporter Representative Alan Williams that is suitable for printing and sharing.
If you are ready to make a difference in the life of a child, visit Prospective Volunteers to get answers to your questions and apply to volunteer today.
I am for the child. Will you be for the child, too?
The child I am for is special. She is the little girl who has already suffered in an abusive home, enters the foster care system and is placed in three or four different homes and schools within just a few months. He is the little boy who witnessed a terrible assault on one of his parents. They are the brother and sister whose mother has just been sentenced to prison and who have been split up and reside in different counties.
Thankfully, most people do not know these children. I do. As I write this, there are hundreds of them in Leon and the adjacent counties. I know them all.
These children are served by the Guardian ad Litem Program, which trains and supports volunteers to speak for and advocate for abused and neglected children. These volunteers are people like you and me who look out for the best interests of the child.
The foster care and child welfare system is full of compassionate lawyers, judges, social workers and foster families, but the intense need can strain the system, making it difficult to protect the rights of each child. What are these rights? To be safe. To be treated with dignity. To be loved. To have friends and live in a home with a real family so the child can thrive. Every child deserves a chance to flourish. A child cannot defend his or her rights, but a Guardian ad Litem volunteer can.
With the help of a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, children have better outcomes. Based on national studies, a child with a volunteer is half as likely to languish in the foster care system, and much more likely to find a safe and permanent home. A child with a volunteer is less likely to return to the child welfare system after going home. Protected and nourished while coming through a period of vulnerability and fear, the child can better achieve his or her potential. These former foster kids may become our future doctors, teachers and leaders.
Every day I see first-hand the transformative impact a Guardian ad Litem volunteer can have on a child. Just the other day, while at the grocery store, I ran into Dot Binger, a Guardian ad Litem volunteer for more than 20 years. With the enthusiasm of a new volunteer assigned to her first case, Dot shared an update about her Guardian ad Litem 17-year-old. After providing two years of advocacy, she saw him recently adopted by a wonderful couple. One person can effect change and make a life-long difference for a child, and Dot has done so. Dot is for a child. She is one of our everyday heroes.
Our goal is that every child in the foster care and child welfare system has a qualified Guardian ad Litem volunteer looking out for his or her best interests.
Currently, with the support of about 310 volunteers, we are serving about 530 children in Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. To serve 100 percent of the children in our area, we need more volunteers. This is our challenge. It is achievable, but only if you or someone you know agrees to join our ranks and to stand up for the rights of a child.
We know what needs to be done. Doing it is the hard part.
Please browse the rest of our website and learn how you can help. Then call me and say, "I am for the child."
- National CASA: "I Am for the Child"
- Dr. Phil: iamforthechild.org
- Campaign Introduction Video by Michael Piraino, CEO National CASA Association
- National CASA Association
- Apply to Volunteer
- Our YouTube Playlist featuring the five PSAs
- "I Am for the Child" CASA PSA
- "Couldn't Believe" CASA PSA
- "Motels" CASA PSA
- "Couldn't Believe" CASA Audio PSA
- "Motels" CASA Audio PSA