The hub of information on our website, the blog contains posts with announcements, news and events, articles, periodicals and additions or updates to our website.

This page contains all published posts sorted chronologically with the newest at the top.

New Event: Christmas In July

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 added to our calendar.

Christmas In July event flyer

You can also browse and access events on our calendar grid.

T-Shirt Fundraiser Underway Until April 12

Partner organization Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc. is hosting a fundraiser selling T-shirts to benefit our program. Four different designs are available, each featuring the Guardian ad Litem Program logo.

  • District Women's V.I.T. T-shirt
    Ladies Heathered Charcoal

  • Bella + Canvas Jersey T-shirt
    Unisex Deep Heather

  • Royal Apparel USA-Made Organic Eco 50/50 T-shirt
    Unisex Heather Ash

  • District Women's Perfect Weight V-Neck T-shirt
    Ladies Heathered Nickel

Please visit the fundraiser page for additional product details and to make a purchase. The sale runs through Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Thank you for your support!

Sheena's Story

"June will mark thirteen years since I became a guardian ad litem volunteer. I went into the foster care system at fourteen, and no one showed up for me. At sixteen, I ran away from an abusive foster placement, staying with different friends until I found out I was pregnant and checked into a program for pregnant women in crisis. No one knew where I was, and my caseworker covered up my running away so she wouldn't get in trouble. My aunt went to court and told the judge I was missing. It was Alpha House of Tampa who saved me. I stayed there until I aged out of the system and moved to Gainesville about a year later.

At eighteen, I promised that I would commit to helping other kids from falling through the unstable foundation of the system. I was on my way to work one day when I heard the radio PSA for the Guardian ad Litem Program and knew God was leading my steps to fulfill the promise I had made. I remember each child that I have been blessed to advocate for. I remember their stories and fought passionately for a better outcome. Many cases were successful; some were not. But, I believe the time spent and the love given will remain with them. Their resilience and strength will always stay with me." — Sheena, Guardian ad Litem Volunteer

rainbow photo with text of Sheena's story

Madison's Story

"I am Madison, I am thirteen years old. When my mom's boyfriend sexually assaulted me, nobody found out right away. When they did, there was a law enforcement investigation. My guardian ad litem comforted me throughout the process, and she was there with me through every step. She laughed and cried with me and listened to me without judgment. If I had a meltdown at school, she would get me and give me a break. If I was upset, she would comfort me. If I was angry and mad, she would calm me down and talk with me. My guardian ad litem has been with me through everything." — Madison ♥️

a young woman holding a red heart in front of her face

In Print: Consider Serving Our Community As A Pro Bono Attorney

An opinion piece written by Circuit Director Deborah Moore recently appeared in the Tallahassee Democrat's "Your Turn" section. Her article is reproduced below.

Thank you to the Tallahassee Democrat for sharing our program with their readers.

Consider serving our community as a pro bono attorney
by Deborah Moore

Tallahassee Democrat
Friday, October 29, 2021

October is Pro Bono Month, when the nation recognizes the contributions of attorneys who volunteer their services to others.

At the Florida Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program, we know the impact these pro bono attorneys can have. Statewide, they're using their skills, knowledge, and compassion to help abused, abandoned and neglected children and achieve our program’s mission of helping these children find safe, permanent homes.

Whether advocating for a child in the dependency system or mentoring a child who needs extra support, our legal community routinely steps up and volunteers.

"Our partnership with pro bono attorneys helps us tremendously in making sure children find a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible," said Dennis Moore, interim Executive Director of the GAL Program.

The number of attorneys volunteering with Guardian ad Litem has grown more than 50 % statewide over the last year. With support and training from the program, pro bono attorneys bolster projects such as Defending Best Interests, which represents hundreds of children during the appeals process.

Pro bono attorneys who volunteer their legal skills with Guardian ad Litem create better outcomes for children and youth. They work with thousands of GAL volunteer child advocates to help provide a brighter future for Florida’s children.

Locally, too, the program is recruiting more attorneys to serve as advocates on cases in the 2nd Circuit.

"It isn't necessary to be an attorney to be a GAL volunteer, but it is helpful when the time comes to prepare court reports, attend hearings, or sometimes testify about a child's best interests," said local GAL Pro Bono Attorney Barbara Busharis who volunteers as a GAL Volunteer Advocate. "The program’s attorney does all the necessary court filings, while I concentrate on gathering information and getting to know the children."

In celebration of Pro Bono Month, we want to recognize and thank all pro bono attorneys who tirelessly and selflessly volunteer to help children and youth, especially in foster care. They are making a difference – one child and one case at a time. But since the job is never done, we hope other attorneys will follow their lead and help the GAL Program represent the best interests of children in court and the community.

"As a GAL Volunteer Advocate for the past 14 years, I have witnessed the profound need for additional volunteer advocates to represent our most vulnerable children," said Terry Rigsby, also a local GAL pro bono attorney. "At the same time, however, I feel our community is blessed to have such a dedicated GAL Program, which always strives to act in the best interests of the child."

We encourage others to thank pro bono attorneys for their service.

For more information on how you can volunteer your legal skills with the Guardian ad Litem Program, please visit www.gal2.org.

Deborah Moore is the Circuit Director for the Guardian ad Litem Program in the 2nd Judicial Circuit.

Website Updates and BBQ Fundraiser Last Call

We have made a number of updates to our website to remove out-of-date items and add current information. Changes were made to the following pages.

  • Contact
  • Added Shirlynne Colson and Khamisi Thorpe
  • Updated Laurie Williams' mobile telephone
  • Removed Alex Castellanos, Christine Gornik, Tasha Loftin, Paige Nirenberg, Lillian Walker, and Saffa Wilkes
  • Leadership
  • Added the 2021 Joy Aukema Taps Children's Advocate Award to Deborah Moore's biography
  • Training
  • Updated the "Phase 2" section and "Phase 3" checklist

Last Call: Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser

If you have not already reviewed the Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser menu and placed your order, time is running out. You have until this Friday, July 30, 2021 at 11:00 AM to order online and contribute toward the fundraiser.

We appreciate your assistance. Thank you!

New Event: Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser

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 added to our calendar.

You can also browse and access events on our calendar grid.

Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser

Partner organization Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit, Inc. is hosting a fundraiser benefiting our program in time for outdoor barbecuing season.

The sixth annual Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser is a delicious way to join the foundation on its mission to provide for the needs of local abused and neglected children. Guardian ad Litem Foundation Second Circuit is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit volunteer organization founded to support the Second Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program.

For this fundraiser, the foundation partnered with Johnston's Meat Market to offer five types of slowly cooked and hickory smoked meats: Boston butt, cured and smoked ham, smoked sausage links, country-style ribs, and smoked bacon slices.

Participating in the fundraiser is easy.

   ❶   Place your order by Friday, July 30, 2021

   ❷   Pick up your food on Friday, August 6, 2021

   ❸   Enjoy the food while helping local children

You can place your order online. Visit the event page for complete details and contact information.

Just in time for your summer cookout, the Great Southern BBQ Fundraiser is an easy way to make a difference in the life of a child and let someone else do some of the cooking.

Thank you for your support!

New Continuing Education Form and Materials

New Continuing Education Form

Updated versions of the Continuing Education Form form have been published. The form may be downloaded from the Form and Document Library in the "Forms and Documents: Annual Requirements" section.

New Continuing Education Materials

Twenty-one new continuing education resources are available to download from the "Complete Your Hours Now" section of the Continuing Education page. Volunteers may read these documents for up to twelve hours of credit.

If you have any questions about continuing education, reporting hours or annual certification, please email deborah.moore@gal.fl.gov to contact our training coordinator.