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 2014 archive sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

CAII Partner and Community Supporters Update

The Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program and Child Advocates II (CAII) work to build partnerships with individuals, businesses and organizations in the community.

Without the assistance provided by our CAII Partners CAII Partner and community supporters, ensuring children have a court-appointed volunteer guardian ad litem, legal assistance and financial resources would be extremely difficult.

The following businesses were recently added to the Community Supporters index.

We thank Merrill Lynch, Mattress Firm, University Lending Group and all of our partners and supporters for their generous contributions!

Family In Need: Furniture, Kitchen Supplies [Fulfilled]

We regularly encounter families who are in need of living assistance but our resources are extremely limited. When special requests for essentials such as beds, linens, clothing and school supplies come in from families, our staff reach out to the community for help in fulfilling those needs.

If you can assist in fulfilling the below request or have any questions, please get in touch with the request contact. Thank you for your help!

  • Status
    Fulfilled
     
  • Request
    Couch
    Queen bed frame
    Assorted kitchen supplies (dishes, cups, silverware, pots and pans)
    Dresser
    Table or desk with chairs
     
  • Quantity
    One (1) each
     
  • Narrative
    N/A
     
  • Contact
    Kimberly Nester
    kimberly.nester@gal.fl.gov
    (850) 606-1226
    (850) 274-4150
Update
2015-12-21: update status to "fulfilled"

Family In Need: Beds, Towels, Pots and Pans [Fulfilled]

We regularly encounter families who are in need of living assistance but our resources are extremely limited. When special requests for essentials such as beds, linens, clothing and school supplies come in from families, our staff reach out to the community for help in fulfilling those needs.

If you can assist in fulfilling the below request or have any questions, please get in touch with the request contact. Thank you for your help!

  • Status
    Fulfilled
     
  • Request
    Full bed with mattress
    Queen bed with mattress
    Assorted bath and dish towels, washcloths, pots and pans
     
  • Quantity
    One (1) each
     
  • Narrative
    A mother has recently been approved for housing assistance and should be able to move into her new home soon
     
  • Contact
    Shuneki Brown
    shuneki.brown@gal.fl.gov
    (850) 606-1222
    (850) 545-8136
Update
2015-12-21: update status to "fulfilled"

Continuing Education Reminder, New Events and Articles Added

All volunteers are required to complete a total of twelve (12) hours in-service continuing education each fiscal year to maintain certification. While settling into 2014, volunteers should keep in mind that the Monday, June 30, 2014 deadline for reporting hours for 2014–2015 is in about six months.

If you have not already completed and submitted your twelve hours for 2014–2015, we continue to add new articles and events to our website that can qualify toward the hours requirement.

The following articles, events and resources were recently added.

  • Continuing Education Articles
  • The Power of Talking to Your Baby
  • The Effect of Family Income on Risk of Child Maltreatment
  • Psychotropic Drug Use in Children and Adolescents
  • Continuing Education Events
  • Transition IFSP to IEP
  • Educational Advocacy Certification Program
  • Positive Behavior Supports
  • Saving Our Youth: Faces of Human Trafficking
  • Additional Resources
  • Exceptional Education and Student Services: Presentations and Publications
  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
  • Educational Advocacy Community Resources

In addition, we also added the Educational Advocacy Document Library to a permanent home on the Current Volunteers resource page. These documents are part of the Educational Advocacy Certification Program.

If you have any questions about continuing education, please contact Christine Gornik at christine.gornik@gal.fl.gov or (850) 606-1228.

DVAC Links Volunteers to the State Office

Alan Abramowitz, Director of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, meets with his advisory committee — the Statewide Director's Volunteer Advisory Committee (DVAC) — comprised of a volunteer from each of the twenty circuits, by way of monthly conference calls. Alan, as he is known by his multitude of contacts and all who work with him, states that his goals for this committee include getting information quickly out into the field and getting information from the field through the volunteers on the DVAC.

Major legislative initiatives discussed with the DVAC during 2013 included the normalcy bill, foster care extension to age twenty-one, attorneys ad litem for youth in nursing homes and budget proposals. The budget proposal involves a three-year plan for reaching the goal of 100% representation of children by the thirty-fifth anniversary of the program.

In the 2014 legislative session, Alan also hopes to make progress on legislation that will allow youth to drive. Insurance is a major issue to be resolved. Other legislation that affects youth, such as KIDS (protection of identifying information for youth), is always closely monitored by Alan. He constantly stresses the importance of volunteers talking with legislators and testifying before legislative committees.

Revision of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Standards [download] was a major initiative of 2013. DVAC members were urged to give careful study to all of the standards but to pay particular attention to those which were under revision or being added. Revisions were discussed during the conference calls and Alan was responsive to all the suggestions or concerns submitted to him by committee members.

Another initiative for the year was revision of the Scorecard and renaming it Performance Advocacy SnapShot (PASS). The measures reported on PASS allow the circuits to know how they are performing in critical areas such as retention of volunteers. Again, Alan carefully considered comments from DVAC members as the revision process was underway.

Throughout the year, Alan reported on a variety of issues affecting the program and about guardian ad litem initiatives and events. Among others, these were discussed: guardian ad litem leadership tracking of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) transformation goal and safety methodology; various recognitions of the program; plans for the 2013 awards reception; new plan for three regional award receptions; issues related to resignation of head of DCF; plans for celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Guardian ad Litem Program; quality improvement reviews for circuits; and partnering with Children's Week rather than having a separate guardian ad litem week.

Following each conference call, the Second Judicial Circuit representative on the DVAC reports to the circuit volunteer/recruitment committee so that the volunteer base for linking with state leadership is broadened.

DVAC members are encouraged to ask questions and introduce issues of concern. One participant spoke of her concern that the judge ignored a recommendation made by both DCF and the guardian ad litem regarding a child and ruled differently. Alan responded that we cannot "win" all the time but that we have to advocate all the time.

Be reminded that Alan is a certified volunteer in the Second Judicial Circuit and experiences firsthand the work and challenges of a guardian ad litem volunteer and the impact of that guardian's advocacy on the permanency outcomes for a child. Alan continually and forcefully advocates on many fronts for the important work of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program.

Dorothy "Dot" Binger is a longtime volunteer for and supporter of the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program. She currently serves as our DVAC volunteer representative and chair of the Volunteer Advisory Committee. She can be reached at dotbinger@comcast.net.

Volunteer Training Schedule for 2014

With the holidays now over and the new year here, it is time to announce the volunteer training schedule for 2014.

Conducted over six days, the three phase pre-service training program is one of the requirements to become a volunteer guardian ad litem. The comprehensive curriculum includes independent study, classroom learning and field work activities.

The 2014 training schedule is provided below, followed by useful links to help you learn more about volunteering, our program and its mission.

  • October 2014
  • Monday, October 6
    Wednesday, October 8
    Thursday, October 9
    Monday, October 13
    Wednesday, October 15
    Thursday, October 16
  • November 2014
  • Monday, November 3
    Wednesday, November 5
    Thursday, November 6
    Monday, November 10
    Wednesday, November 12
    Thursday, November 13
  • December 2014
  • Monday, December 8
    Wednesday, December 10
    Thursday, December 11
    Monday, December 15
    Wednesday, December 17
    Thursday, December 18
  • July 2014
  • Monday, July 7
    Wednesday, July 9
    Thursday, July 10
    Monday, July 14
    Wednesday, July 16
    Thursday, July 17
     
  • August 2014
  • Monday, August 4
    Wednesday, August 6
    Thursday, August 7
    Monday, August 11
    Wednesday, August 13
    Thursday, August 14
     
  • September 2014
  • Monday, September 8
    Wednesday, September 10
    Thursday, September 11
    Monday, September 15
    Wednesday, September 17
    Thursday, September 18
     
  • April 2014
  • Monday, April 7
    Wednesday, April 9
    Thursday, April 10
    Monday, April 14
    Wednesday, April 16
    Thursday, April 17
     
  • May 2014
  • Monday, May 5
    Wednesday, May 7
    Thursday, May 8
    Monday, May 12
    Wednesday, May 14
    Thursday, May 15
     
  • June 2014
  • Monday, June 2
    Wednesday, June 4
    Thursday, June 5
    Monday, June 9
    Wednesday, June 11
    Thursday, June 12
     
  • January 2014
  • Monday, January 6
    Wednesday, January 8
    Thursday, January 9
    Monday, January 13
    Wednesday, January 15
    Thursday, January 16
     
  • February 2014
  • Monday, February 3
    Wednesday, February 5
    Thursday, February 6
    Monday, February 10
    Wednesday, February 12
    Thursday, February 13
     
  • March 2014
  • Friday, March 21
    Friday, March 28
     
     
     
     
     

As of November 2013, there were 470 children represented by the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program and it is crucial that we provide each and every one of them with a volunteer to represent their best interests. Help us bridge the gap… learn more and volunteer today!

Update
2014-02-05: updated to reflect the cancellation of the March classes
2014-03-06: updated to add new March classes in Franklin County
2014-07-12: updated introduction text
2014-09-17: resorted list
2014-12-01: corrected December dates