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 June 2013 archive sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

WFSU-FM Features GAL Program, Staff and Volunteers

WFSU Logo

The Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program was recently featured on WFSU-FM, Tallahassee's local public radio station.

In the story, Tom Flanigan highlights our program and mission while featuring commentary from Circuit Director Deborah Moore, award-winning volunteer guardian ad litem Jan Watford and Child Advocates II, Inc. Board President Brian Sealey.

The short piece is a great listen. You can download an MP3 of the audio or listen to the piece on our YouTube channel, also embedded below.

The story was originally broadcast at 7:40 AM and 9:50 AM on Friday, June 14, 2013. Thank you to WFSU and Tom Flanigan for sharing our mission with their listeners.

Letter to Volunteers: Recertification Reminder

Dear Volunteers,

Greetings! As you know, your recertification is due by June 30, 2013 for the fiscal year 2013–2014. This is a friendly reminder to complete that as soon as you can. All volunteers must complete twelve hours of continuing education each fiscal year. Attached is the traditional continuing education (CE) form with instructions for reporting your completion of the twelve hour requirement. Instructions are also on our website at gal2.org.

Also attached is the NEW Code of Conduct form. A signed copy of this code is also required each fiscal year, and you may return it with the CE form. Once you have completed the requirements, send the completed, signed, forms to our office. This may be done by one of the following ways.

  1. Fax to (850) 606-1201
  2. Mail to 1920 Thomasville Road, Suite 208, Tallahassee, FL 32303-5217
  3. Scan and email to christine.gornik@gal.fl.gov  or
  4. Submit the CE form electronically
    → the Code of Conduct must still be faxed, scanned/emailed or mailed

Once complete, we will then mail you the fiscal year 2013–2014 recertification card that will expire on June 30, 2014. Thank you so much for your continued advocacy for our children.

Sincerely,

Christine Gornik
Training Coordinator
(850) 606-1228
christine.gornik@gal.fl.gov

In Print: Abramowitz Editorial, Florida Budget News

On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, had an opinion piece published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

A few days later on Tuesday, May 28, 2013, Abramowitz emailed staff and volunteers to announce the signing of the state budget, which includes the Guardian ad Litem Program legislative budget request.

Both articles are presented below in case you missed them.

State expands advocacy for Florida children in foster care
by Alan Abramowitz
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Opinion

I want to thank Florida's guardian ad litem volunteers for their continued dedication to the children we serve.

I am privileged to be able to travel across the state of Florida, hearing stories of devotion and perseverance in representing Florida's children. The stories are inspiring and make me proud to be a part of the Guardian ad Litem program. Our 9,000-plus volunteers' commitment is not only noticed by me, the children they represent and those within the child welfare community — it is noticed by those in Florida's Legislature and even the governor's office.

Every time I have met with Gov. Rick Scott, he has talked to me about how impressed he is by the work of the thousands of guardian ad litem volunteers, also known as "volunteer child advocates." Scott has friends who are volunteers, and has heard firsthand the enormous impact GAL volunteers make on the lives of children. He understands the essential and often difficult work they do every day. His words are heartfelt — he truly believes in the difference our volunteers are making in children's lives.

It is wonderful to have such unwavering support from Scott. This year, he supported our legislative budget request to expand volunteerism so children can have volunteer child advocates in more cases. I anticipate that soon more than 75 percent of the children who need a guardian ad litem will finally have that voice advocating for them. Our mission is better outcomes for the children we serve — more volunteers will help us achieve our mission.

Other good news: Some of the children we represent are placed in nursing homes, depending on their needs. Scott recently signed a law that would provide representation to meet the needs of these children. With the signing of this law, children placed in nursing homes will now have their voices heard in administrative hearings; representation in attaining guardianships; representation so they may receive services through the Agency for Health Care Administration or the Agency for Persons with Disabilities; and help accessing federal benefits.

Scott recently wrote a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner. In the letter he made specific reference to the guardian ad litem program. The governor identifies some "highlights of our strategic Florida Families First budget investments," and includes that "the Florida Families First budget provides $3.8 million to increase volunteers to represent dependent children through court proceedings and $323,000 to provide attorneys ad litem for dependent, disabled children in nursing homes."

Our program will use these dollars consistent with the Legislature's and governor's goal to expand representation and provide effective and efficient representation creating better outcomes for the children we serve.

Thanks again to Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz, and Speaker Will Weatherford for their efforts and recognition that all our volunteers do in expanding representation in foster care so more children will have a voice.

It is an honor to support the efforts every day to impact children's lives.

Abramowitz is the executive director of Florida's Guardian ad Litem Office. Previously, he served as administrator of the Department of Children and Families district that included Volusia and Flagler.

Copyright © 2013, Daytona Beach News-Journal. All Rights Reserved.

Governor Signs Budget
by Alan Abramowitz
Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Great news today for children in foster care.

First, I want to thank you all for your continued dedication to the children we serve. I am privileged to be able to travel across the state of Florida hearing your stories of devotion and perseverance in representing Florida's children. Your stories are inspiring and make me proud to be a part of the Guardian ad Litem Program. Your commitment is not only noticed by me, the children you represent or those within the child welfare community—it is noticed by those in Florida's legislature and even the Governor's office.

Every time I have met with Governor Rick Scott, he has talked to me about how impressed he is by the work of the thousands of Guardian ad Litem volunteers. Governor Scott has friends who are volunteers and has heard firsthand the enormous impact GAL volunteers make on the lives of children. He understands the essential and often difficult work you do every day. His words are heartfelt—he truly believes in the difference you are making in children's lives.

It is wonderful to have such unwavering support from Governor Scott. This year, Governor Scott supported our Legislative Budget Request to expand volunteerism so children can have volunteer child advocates in more cases. I anticipate that soon more than 75% of the children who need a GAL will finally have that voice advocating for them. Our mission is better outcomes for the children we serve -more volunteers will help us achieve our mission.

As you may know, some of the children we represent are placed in nursing homes depending on their needs. Governor Scott recently signed a law that would provide representation to meet the needs of these children. With the signing of this law, children placed in nursing homes will now have their voices heard in administrative hearings; representation in attaining guardianships; representation so they may receive services through AHCA or APD; and help accessing federal benefits.

Governor Scott recently wrote a letter to Secretary of State Ken Detzner. In the letter he made specific reference to the Guardian ad Litem Program. The Governor identifies some "highlights of our strategic Florida Families First budget investments" and includes that the "The Florida Families First budget provides $3.8 million to increase volunteers to represent dependent children through court proceedings and $323,000 to provide attorneys ad litem for dependent, disabled children in nursing homes."

I pledge to each of you that our program will use these dollars consistent with the legislatures and Governor's goal to expand representation and provide effective and efficient representation creating better outcomes for the children we serve.

Thanks again to Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Don Gaetz, and Speaker Will Weatherford for their efforts and recognition of all that you do in expanding representation in foster care so more children will have a voice.

It is an honor to support your efforts every day to impact children's lives.

Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program
Alan F. Abramowitz
Executive Director

New Events: Continuing Education and July Bookfair

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.


Advanced Skills Course Session 4
The Advanced Skills Course continuing education series provides an opportunity for current volunteer guardians ad litem to review and refresh their knowledge and skills.


Guardian ad Litem Bookfair at Books-A-Million
Books-A-Million has designated the first Saturday of each month as Guardian ad Litem Day and we thank them for their support! Buy books and support children in the community at the Guardian ad Litem Bookfair.