The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, its staff, local circuits and not-for-profits, community supporters and, of course, the over 8,000 guardian ad litem volunteers statewide have won a most prestigious award.
Presented annually since 1989, the Davis Productivity Awards program acknowledges and rewards state employees and work units "whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and promotes innovation to improve the delivery of state services and save money for Florida taxpayers and businesses."
The program was nominated for "Streamlining Efficiencies to Focus on Commitment to Children" in the "Exemplary State" type classification and received one of only sixteen "Eagle" category awards this year. A total of 498 individuals representing the program were nominated, 202 more than the next largest nominee group. The nominations and subsequent award were based on the fact that in state government, the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program costs the least and benefits the most.
"Thank you to our staff and volunteers of this great program," says Executive Director Alan Abramowitz. "Without you, this would not be possible!"
Millions of dollars have been saved since the inception of the program in 1980. By utilizing over 16,000 volunteers in the past five years alone, hiring a committed staff of child advocates, engaging the non-profits supporting their local circuit's program, reaching out to businesses in the community, and using pro bono attorneys across the state—and in particular through the Legal Aid Society of the Orange County Bar Association—the program has saved taxpayers' dollars while working to accomplish a great need.
Additional efforts which have resulted in significant savings to the state include the establishment of a private/public partnership securing money with the local not-for-profits, the development of an online portal for volunteers, and the creation of an online pro bono attorney training program for which attorneys qualify for continuing legal education (CLE) credit hours.
The 2012 Prudential – Davis Productivity Awards received 533 nominations in five categories for "innovations and productivity improvements worth $509 million in cost savings, cost avoidances and increased revenue for state government." Within those nominations, a total of 4,163 individuals were recognized for their contributions.
The Davis Productivity Awards program is a public-private initiative chaired by the Lieutenant Governor, currently Jennifer Carroll, and sponsored by Prudential Financial, Inc., Florida TaxWatch, the Florida Council of 100 and the State of Florida. The awards were originated by J.E. Davis and A.D. Davis, the late co-founders of Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., and Florida TaxWatch.
Award presentations will take place statewide in June 2012. The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program will be recognized and receive this incredible award at a ceremony scheduled on Friday, June 1, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.
Congratulations to everyone involved with the program and thank you to everyone who made this honor possible!