Director's Column: August 2013

This month, our state office released the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Standards. The new standards are now posted on our website at

Our thanks to Dorothy "Dot" Binger, our local program Volunteer Advisory Committee chair and second circuit volunteer representative on the Statewide Director of Volunteer Advisory Committee (DVAC). Dot and the DVAC members were part of the collaborative effort to create the standards by completing the final review and providing feedback to our Executive Director Alan Abramowitz.

Standard 1, "The Role of the Guardian ad Litem", reminds us that if a guardian ad litem encounters "barriers in gaining access to an assigned child, the circuit office should be notified immediately." Difficulty gaining access to a child is a safety "red flag" and we must respond with a sense of urgency. We will immediately notify and work with the Department of Children and Families, the community-based care agency and the dependency court to resolve the issue of denied access.

Standard 1 also emphasizes the impact our volunteers make when, in addition to supporting a child as an advocate, a guardian ad litem volunteer becomes a mentor for the child. Our Independent Living Advisory Committee is planning the next mentoring training session Monday, September 23 and Thursday, September 26. We hope you will join us!

Standard 7, "Transportation of Children" provides information about the provision allowing volunteers to transport children represented by the program. Currently, seventy volunteers in our circuit have been approved and are benefiting from enhanced communication with the children and promoting social and extracurricular activities. If you are interested in gaining approval to transport your assigned guardian ad litem child, please contact your child advocacy coordinator.

The standards is an excellent document to empower our staff and volunteers to achieve a high level of success for our program and the children we serve. Please contact me at or at (850) 606-1218 if you have any questions about the standards. If you would a copy of the standards mailed to you, please contact Laurie Williams at (850) 606-1212. Thank you.

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