A Voice Heard: 2014 Guardian ad Litem Program Status Report

Florida Guardian ad Litem Program "A Voice Heard: Let Kids Be Kids" 2014 Status Report

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."[1]

This year's report — "A Voice Heard: Let Kids Be Kids" 2014 Status Report — was published in April 2014 and is available for download.

The statewide office's introduction to the report is provided below.

Early in 2014, Senate President Don Gaetz posed the question, "how do we know whether the laws we pass have the intended results?"

The Guardian ad Litem Program took this question to heart and decided that the program would determine whether the "Let Kids be Kids" bill passed in 2013 is allowing youth in foster care to have opportunities like any other youth in the community.

This report presents the findings of a survey of foster parents, guardian ad litem volunteers and Florida Department of Children and Families regional directors to determine the impact of this new law. The results show that "Let Kids be Kids" is a success about which Florida can be very proud.

Bill sponsors Senator Nancy Detert and Representative Ben Albritton listened to guardian ad litem volunteers, foster parents, members of Florida Youth SHINE and other child advocates as they crafted the law. House Speaker Will Weatherford and his wife Courtney, an active guardian ad litem herself, were also committed to make the proposal a reality.

The historic legislation became effective on July 1, 2013. The impact of this law validates that we all do better when we listen to the children who are most affected.

[1] § 39.8296 (2)(b)(7), Florida Statutes (2011).

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