The hub of information for the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, our blog contains posts with announcements, news and events, articles, periodicals and additions or updates to our website.

This page contains published posts from the January 2012 archive sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

Event Update: GAL Day 2012

Our event flyer for the 2012 Guardian ad Litem Day at the Capitol has been updated again. The two-day schedule of events now includes additional details and new parking information and off-site options are available.

Sponsored by the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation, Guardian ad Litem Day is a fun and unique event that brings volunteers, members of the community and legislators together to discuss and expand awareness of the needs of Florida's dependent children as well as honor the achievements of the program. The day before, volunteer and non-profit training sessions will be held at the First District Court of Appeal.

This year's events take place on Wednesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 9, 2012. Browse the detailed schedule of events, mark your calendars and RSVP today!

New Event: Training Refresher Course 1

We regularly host a variety of events to provide community outreach, raise awareness of our program, recruit new volunteers, fund raise and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following event has been recently added to our calendar.

Training Refresher Course 1
The Training Refresher Course continuing education series, sponsored by the Volunteer Advisory Committee, provides an opportunity for current volunteer guardians ad litem to review and refresh their knowledge and skills. Participants will be awarded three (3) hours of in-service continuing education credit.

Photo: GAL Joins Governor at Partners for Promise Kick Off

As we reported last month, Governor Rick Scott and Florida Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins announced the Partners for Promise program during a Capitol press conference on Monday, December 5, 2011.

Afterward, Circuit Director Deborah Moore and Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office Executive Director Alan Abramowitz joined Governor Scott and some of our great volunteers and community supporters for a photograph (click to enlarge).

Original Photo Credit: State of Florida

Pictured, from left to right: Michael Lopez, Manager, Starbucks; Omega Wynn, District Manager, Starbucks; Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office; Brian Sealey, President, Child Advocates II, Inc.; Rick Scott, Governor; Deborah Moore, Circuit Director, Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program; Stuart Zirin, Volunteer Guardian ad Litem; and Mike Davis, Business Development Office Representative, Centennial Bank.

A New Class of Volunteers Sworn in at Cabinet Meeting

On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program attended Governor Rick Scott's Cabinet meeting at the Florida Capitol.

Circuit Director Deborah Moore was on hand to witness Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles T. Canady swear in twenty new guardian ad litem volunteers, discuss child advocacy issues and stand with Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office Executive Director Alan Abramowitz as Governor Scott presented him with a resolution recognizing the program.

You can download the press release or read the text below. You can also look at photographs from the event in our Volunteers Sworn In 2012-01-18 set on Flickr.

 

GUARDIAN AD LITEM SWEARS IN NEW CLASS OF VOLUNTEERS AT THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNOR AND CABINET
Volunteers were sworn in by Chief Justice Charles T. Canady, Florida Supreme Court.

TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program attended the Governor and Cabinet Meeting on January 18, 2012, where Chief Justice Canady administered the oath that will allow approximately 20 private citizens to speak on behalf of Florida's children. The Guardian ad Litem Program represents the interests of children in court proceedings by enlisting dedicated volunteers to be an independent voice for those children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected.

"Guardian ad Litem volunteers are a special group because they are committed to the relentless advocacy for the well-being and best interest of the children they serve," Governor Rick Scott said. "I am thankful for each of the nearly 8,000 Florida GALs currently making a difference in the lives of children every day, and I welcome the new guardians being sworn in today."

Deborah Moore, 2nd Judicial Circuit Director states, "I am grateful for this opportunity and honor to witness the swearing in of our guardian ad litem volunteers. These volunteers will help bring positive change and improve outcomes for many children in our community. Our Program is so fortunate to have these exceptional individuals stepping up for our children."

Governor Rick Scott presented Executive Director, Alan Abramowitz, with a Resolution that recognizes the Program for its commitment and many years of service to this state's dependent children.

This new class of volunteers brings the Program one step closer to the goal of 10,000 voices for children. "The support shown by Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott is incredible. I would like to thank the Governor for recognizing the Program and the need for its volunteers to serve as independent advocates for Florida's children," stated Alan Abramowitz. There are approximately 32,000 children in care and approximately 10,000 children still in need of a voice to guide them along their path to a permanent home. These new volunteers will be assigned children and start their journey to help our most vulnerable citizens. Nick Nichols will be sworn in as a guardian ad litem volunteer. "To become a voice for our most precious resource, our children, is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. I am humbled and honored to be able to represent children in situations that they did not cause," stated Nick Nichols.

If you are interested in learning more about the Guardian ad Litem Program or want to become a volunteer, please visit our website at www.gal2.org, or contact Deborah Moore at (850) 606.1218.

CONTACT
Deborah Moore, Circuit Director
Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program
1-850-606-1218

New and Updated Events: Volunteer Training

We regularly host a variety of events to provide community outreach, raise awareness of our program, recruit new volunteers, fund raise and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following events have been recently added to our calendar.

Volunteer guardians ad litem are required to complete thirty hours of pre-service training in order to become certified and undergo regular recertification. The training curriculum includes classroom learning, reading, court observation and practice activities. The sessions are typically scheduled over the course of six evenings, each lasting three and a half hours.

Strategic Campaign for 10,000 Voices

On Friday, January 6, 2012, the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office hosted a news conference for a statewide initiative to kick off a strategic campaign to recruit 10,000 child advocates for abused, abandoned, and neglected children.

You can download the press release or read the text below.

 

GUARDIAN AD LITEM PROGRAM STRATEGIC CAMPAIGN FOR 10,000 VOICES
Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director, calls for child advocate volunteers.

TAMPA, FL — The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Foundation will host a news conference for a statewide initiative to kick off a strategic campaign to recruit 10,000 child advocates for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. The Guardian ad Litem Program represents the best interests of children in court proceedings by enlisting dedicated volunteers to be an independent voice for those children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected. There are approximately 31,000 children in Florida's foster care system today. With nearly 8,000 volunteers, the Program is able to give a voice to 22,000 of those children. Who will be the voice for those 10,000 children?

To promote awareness and recruit volunteers, the Guardian ad Litem Foundation has secured funding to air a pair of public service announcements (PSAs) throughout Florida. These PSAs were created by National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) to raise awareness for these vulnerable children. This recruitment campaign is titled "I am for the child" and captures the Program's mission. These children need someone to be their voice in court to stand up for them, to advocate on their behalf, and to be there for them. Our volunteers are role models, mentors, and the true heroes for these children. Although the law defines these volunteer child advocates as "Guardians ad Litem," to these children they are truly guardian angels.

Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office, will be in attendance, along with Mag McGauley and Jane Munroe from the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Foundation, Michael Piraino, CEO of National CASA, Senator Ronda Storms, Representative Rich Glorioso, Doug Sessions of the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida, and other Tampa delegates who recognize the need and value of Guardian ad Litem volunteers.

Senator Storms stated, "Many children in our state are alone in the big, wide world—with no one on their side, no one looking out for them, no one to protect their best interests. Some fortunate children have guardians ad litem on their side, making decisions to protect them and look out for them—to truly transform a child's future. Please, please consider learning more about the Guardian ad Litem Program and the great things they do. Time, money and prayers—pick one or all three, but do something so that every precious child who needs a guardian ad litem will receive one."

As stated by Alan Abramowitz, "Our message is simple but profound...by becoming a volunteer child advocate, you will learn this reality: 'To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.' The 'I am for the child' Campaign allows us, in just 30 seconds, to reach out to those special adults who are inspired to make a difference in the life of a child as a Guardian ad Litem volunteer."

Representative Glorioso stated, "The public private partnership the Guardian ad Litem Program demonstrates emphasizes the relationship between businesses, non-profits, and our communities in protecting Florida's children and helping families. We continue to support these volunteer child advocates so one day, all children will have a voice."

Secretary of the Florida Department of Children and Families David Wilkins added his support to this initiative and stated, "DCF sent me the following quote for Secretary David Wilkins. "The challenge of providing all of Florida's children with the opportunity to dream of a better future is enormous. But it is truly the highest of moral callings and it requires the work of our Department, our community partners, businesses and volunteers. I have repeatedly seen first-hand the impact of a volunteer Guardian ad Litem on a child's life and the rewards are great for the child, the volunteer and our state's future. I encourage any Floridian who wishes to help a child to volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program. The impact one person can have is incredible."

Tracy Scholes on behalf of Janice Caluda, Executive Vice President of The Florida Cable Telecommunications Association "is pleased to partner with the Guardian ad Litem Foundation and the Ounce of Prevention Fund of Florida to spread their very worthy message—that all of us are the community that cares for children. We are leveraging our cable networks to give the partners $80,000 of advertising time over the next three months. Look for the spots on a cable network near you and congratulations on what will be a very successful campaign."

Please join us and be a part of our campaign for 10,000 Voices!

Friday, January 6, 2012
2:00–3:00 PM
Glazer Children's Museum
110 W. Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, Florida 33602

The Guardian ad Litem Foundation acknowledges the partnership of the Florida Cable Telecommunications Association for their assistance in implementing this public service outreach throughout our state and its diverse media markets.

CONTACT: Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director
Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office
1-850-241-3232