Child advocate volunteers sought for Guardian ad Litem program
The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is currently seeking volunteers to be a voice for abused, neglected or abandoned children whose cases are in the court system.
The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is a State and County funded volunteer based organization that trains lay persons, to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children. It exists throughout the nation and all 67 Florida counties.
Volunteers work as a part of a team. They are assigned to a human service supervisor and attorney. They gather information needed to make sound, commonsense recommendations to the court. Although the child’s safety is priority one, volunteers must consider the importance of familial connections, friendships and the child’s wishes and desires.
Independent research has shown that children with a GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and reenter care. Children, who have exited the dependency system, often say that were it not for their GAL, they don’t know how they would have made it through such a traumatic experience.
At present, more than 2,100 children are part of the Dependency Court System in the 5th Circuit which includes Marion, Lake, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties. Regrettably, due to the lack of volunteers, not all of these children receive our services.
If you are interested in making this cause, your cause, become a Guardian ad Litem volunteer. Contact Diana Hollwedel at 352-812-6971 or e-mail her at [email protected]. A free volunteer training will be held March 8 through the 10 in Weeki Wachee, Florida . Pre-registration is necessary as space is limited. To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program visit www.guardianadlitem.org.