The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office provides an annual report "to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court."
This year's report — "A Voice Heard: Building Trust and Hope" 2013 Status Report — was published on Thursday, April 4, 2013 and is available for download.
- Download and read the full report
An abridged excerpt from the report's executive summary is provided below.
In February 2012, the Guardian ad Litem Program published A Voice Heard. In this report, 152 elementary, middle and high school students, as well as former foster youth, were asked a series of questions to determine their experiences with and expectations of their GAL volunteer. The results were compiled and analyzed for common themes to assist the program in improving its advocacy both within the courtroom and in the community. The themes that emerged taught us that young people want four things.
- Personal Interest — caring, concern and emotional support
- Advocacy — judicial, educational and situational
- Communication — talking, listening and understanding
- Trust — responsiveness, honesty and reliability
These findings have been used to improve GAL training, build a strategic plan, and create a scorecard to ensure accountability for the children we serve. The significance of the youthful voices made it clear that we must continue to engage children in these conversations; fine-tuning our program model and sharing the results with others who can make an impact on the quality of their lives.
During the 2012 Florida legislative session, statutory language was passed which gives guardians ad litem the authority to transport the children they represent. Subsequently, the program launched a second initiative, A Voice Heard: Building Trust and Hope, focusing on the benefits of transportation for children represented by the Program…