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 October 2015 archive sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

New Continuing Education Events, Library Item and Staff Directory Update

New Events

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following events were added to our calendar.

Continuing Education

One new library item has been added to our Continuing Education resource center.

  • Legal Briefs Newsletter
    An email newsletter from the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program focusing on legal topics of interest to staff, pro bono attorneys and attorneys ad litem.
    filed under Foster Care, Guardians ad Litem, Newsletter and Website

Staff Directory

Our staff directory on the Contact page has been updated to reflect the recent departure of Child's Best Interest Attorney Jessamy Cauthen.

We thank Jessamy for her service and wish her the best with her future endeavors.

Update
2015-11-02: correct Educational Surrogate Training event date from November 23 to November 30

New Email Feature Added To eForm, Plus Event Update

eForm Upgrade

We have added a new feature to eForm to help individuals keep their own records. Submitters now have the option to provide an email address on the "Finish" page and then receive an email copy of their submission.

This new option is now available on the following forms.

  • Child Visitation Report eForm
  • Contact eForm
  • Continuing Education eForm*
  • Report to the Court eForm

* providing an email address was always required, so this feature already existed

Thank you to Katherine Blyth for sending in a feature request for this option, which was coincidentally already under consideration.

Event Update

The 2015 Guardian ad Litem Holiday Gift Drive event page has been updated to include a new primary event contact, Omega Wynn. His email address and telephone number are now listed in the Event Contact section.

You can visit gal2.org/wishes to learn all about this annual special event.

New Shortlinks Index Lists Memorable and Quick to Type Abridged Web Addresses

Across this site and in print flyers, we often use "shortlinks" to provide direct access to certain web pages. Volunteers, staff and supporters can now reference an index of these abbreviated addresses.

A portmanteau of shortcut and links, our shortlinks are designed to be simple to remember and fast to type. They also provide permanent links to pages with lengthy addresses and to locations that may change in the future.

With twenty-nine shortlinks available today, it made sense to document them in a single place. The new Website Shortlinks category on the Links page contains an alphabetical index of shortlinks along with brief descriptions. You can also use the shortlink gal2.org/shortlink to get there.

Of course, we will note any future shortlink additions in a post here.

As a reminder, we offer several ways to stay informed about our news and updates.

  • gal2.org Updates
    an email digest sent on Mondays at 8:00 AM when new blog content has been published during the previous week

  • Twitter
    follow us @flguardian2 for new blog post updates and more

  • Facebook
    like us on Facebook for new blog post updates and more

  • RSS Feed
    use your favorite reader to download and read our blog posts

Five New Volunteers Sworn In As Guardians ad Litem

On Wednesday, October 21, 2015, six new volunteers sworn in as guardians ad litem at the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee, Florida.

The ceremony was presided over by the Honorable Karen Gievers, a dependency court circuit judge who officiates our volunteer swearing in events regularly. Volunteer Recruiter Sara Blumenthal and Volunteer Trainer Christine Gornik were also on hand, as was Dorothy "Dot" Binger — one of our outstanding longtime volunteers.

You can view fourteen photographs from the ceremony in our Volunteers Sworn In 2015-10-21 album on Flickr.

We are very proud of and thankful for all of our volunteers and the work that they do. Congratulations and welcome to our newest volunteer guardians ad litem!

Five new volunteers sworn in as guardians ad litem at the Leon County Courthouse in Tallahassee, Florida on October 21, 2015

Photo: Christine Gornik

New and Updated: Holiday Gift Drive, Events, eForm, Continuing Education Library and Staff Directory

New Events

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following events were added recently to our calendar.

Form and Document Library

The Form and Document Library on the Current Volunteers page has been given a makeover. Quickly accessible using the gal2.org/forms shortlink, this library is a one-stop shop for essential materials used by volunteer guardians ad litem and staff. It contains two sections.

  • eForm — The eForm section lists the forms currently available in that format. eForm provides a streamlined way to submit forms and reports to staff. Featuring dynamic fields and controls, eForm is easy to use on any device at home or out in the field.

  • Forms and Documents — The Forms and Documents section is divided into five categories. Items are available in different formats such as eForm, PDF and Microsoft Word.

In addition, we uploaded new versions of two documents contained within the library. Both documents can be downloaded from the "Annual Requirements" category.

  • Code of Conduct
  • Continuing Education Form

We also added a new Contact eForm to replace legacy forms on the Contact and Continuing Education pages. The Contact eForm is used to submit questions and comments to our office, with messages routed to specific individuals based on the "subject" option selected.

Continuing Education

Two new library items have been added to our Continuing Education resource center.

  • Life Skills: Entering the Workforce
    A two-part, one-and-a-half hour training video presented by Rochelle Daniels, General Counsel for CareerSource Broward and hosted by Florida's Center for Child Welfare.
    filed under Older Youth, Video and Website

  • Neuropsychological Evaluations of Children and Adults in Child Welfare
    A two-part, two hour training video presented by James E. Lewis, PhD, Clinical Neuropsychologist for Florida Children's Medical Services, Suncoast/Pinellas County Child Protection Team and hosted by Florida's Center for Child Welfare.
    filed under Mental Health, Video and Website

The Continuing Education page itself received several updates. The Annual Requirements and Complete Your Hours Now sections are both updated for the next fiscal year.

All volunteer guardians ad litem are required to complete at least twelve hours of in-service continuing education annually to maintain certification. For the 2016–2017 fiscal year, volunteers have until Thursday, June 30, 2016 to complete and report their credit hours.

Staff Directory

Our staff directory on the Contact page as well as the Child Visitation Report eForm and Report to the Court eForm have been updated to reflect the recent departure of Child Advocate Manager Christina Chapman.

We thank Christina for her service and wish her the best with her future endeavors.

Guardian ad Litem Continuing Education eForm Now Available

Another new interactive form has been published to our eForm application. The Guardian ad Litem Continuing Education eForm is available for volunteers to report their continuing education hours.

Unlike the Child Visitation Report and Report to the Court eForms published before it, the Continuing Education eForm replaces an existing online submission page. Links to that former page are now redirected to the new eForm.

Introduced in July 2015, eForm provides a streamlined way to submit forms and reports to program staff. Featuring dynamic fields and controls, eForm is easy to use on any device at home or out in the field.

Beyond making it easier and more convenient for our volunteers to submit required documentation, eForm also saves our staff time by providing data in a consistent format and eliminating the need to transcribe paper forms.

You can browse our volunteer forms and documents — eForm and downloads alike — on the Current Volunteers page.

Seven New Continuing Education Events, Library Update and Two Community Supporters

New Events

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following events were added recently to our calendar.

Continuing Education Library

One new library item has been added to our Continuing Education resource center.

New Community Supporters

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

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 two organizations were added to the Supporters page, filed under Local Businesses and Other Businesses, respectively.

Main Cleaning Solutions LLC

Logo: Main Cleaning Solutions LLC

Orkin

Logo: Orkin

We thank Main Cleaning Solutions LLC, Orkin and all of our partners and supporters for their generous contributions to children in our community.

Guardian ad Litem Report to the Court eForm Now Available

A new interactive form has been published to our eForm application. The Guardian ad Litem Report to the Court eForm is available for volunteers to write and submit their judicial hearing reports.

First introduced on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, eForm provides a streamlined way to submit forms and reports to program staff. Featuring dynamic fields and controls, eForm is easy to use on any device at home or out in the field.

The Report to the Court is the second volunteer document to be published as an eForm. The Child Visitation Report eForm launched first 102 days ago and has been met by praise from volunteers and staff alike. Exceeding expectations for initial usage, guardians ad litem have submitted 230 visitation reports via eForm thus far.

In addition to making it easier and more convenient for our volunteers to submit required documentation, eForm is also saving our staff time by providing data in a consistent format and eliminating the need to transcribe paper forms.

You can browse the updated Current Volunteers page for a list of forms, reports and documents in eForm and print-ready format. Two more documents are currently being developed for eForm, so watch this space to find out when they are ready.

New Event and Updated Volunteer and Training Documents

New Event

We regularly host, sponsor and support a variety of events that provide community outreach, increase awareness of our program, help recruit new volunteers, raise funds and furnish training to our volunteer guardians ad litem. The following event was recently added to our calendar.

Volunteer Document Update

An updated form is now available to download in the Volunteer Forms and Documents section of the Current Volunteers page.

  • Guardian ad Litem Report to the Court
  • update to instructions; forms are due two weeks prior to the judicial review hearing

Training Document Update

Three updated documents are now available to download on the Training page.

  • Volunteer Pre-Service Training Program Handbook
  • found in the Independent Study section
  • Fieldwork Checklist
  • Fieldwork Matrix
  • found in the Fieldwork section

New Community Supporter and Project Sponsors

New Community Supporter

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

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 organization was added to the Supporters page, filed under Local Businesses.

The Rivers Team

Logo: The Rivers Team and Keller Williams Realty

We thank The Rivers Team and all of our partners and supporters for their generous contributions to children in our community.

New Project Sponsors

We are excited to announce two new sponsors of our First Beginnings project, which provides assistance to youth in our community who are venturing out on their own for the first time.

Recently joining the project are the Big Bend Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. CAII Partner and the aforementioned Rivers Team. As part of their sponsorship, The Rivers Team is volunteering the use of their truck to collect and deliver furniture.

These two organizations join the project's founding sponsors Child Advocates II, Inc., Florida Youth SHINE and StorQuest Self Storage as well as supporting sponsors The Sharing Center Thrift Store and Killearn United Methodist Church in ensuring that this important endeavor is a success.

Thank you to all of our wonderful First Beginnings project sponsors!