The Guardian ad Litem Program Urges Residents to Act Against Child Abuse
During National Child Abuse Prevention Month in April, the Guardian ad Litem program challenges residents of Hernando and Citrus Counties to stand against child abuse and take action to support children who have been abused or neglected.
At any given time, there are over 700 children in foster care in Hernando and Citrus Counties. These children come into the child welfare system through no fault of their own. “The number of children coming into care continues to grow” said Marcia Hilty, Circuit Director. “Every child deserves the support of a caring, consistent, trained adult to help them find a safe, loving home where they can heal and thrive.”
Throughout the month of April, The Guardian ad Litem program (GALP) is calling on members of the community to help serve more of our most vulnerable children. The GALP, a largely volunteer-based organization, that advocates for the safety and well-being of abused and neglected children, gives lay citizens the power and authority to make a difference. By assigning a trained volunteer to each child, it guarantees a higher level of protection and oversight and ensures decision-makers are focused on the child.
Without intervention, the odds are stacked against children in foster care. A child with a guardian ad litem (GAL) volunteer, however, spends 20 percent less time in foster care, on average, compared to a child without a GAL volunteer. Studies show children with a GAL volunteer receive more services that are critical to their well-being and are four times more likely to find a permanent home. “GAL volunteers are a constant for the child in a time of chaos,” said Marcia Hilty, Circuit Director. “A child may have multiple social workers, attorneys, therapists, and foster placements throughout the life of the case, but only one GAL volunteer, which can make all the difference for the child’s future.”
For more information about Guardian ad Litem, to become a supporter or to volunteer, visit GuardianadLitem.org. To register for an upcoming training, contact Diana Gisonni at 352-812-6971 or by email at [email protected]