Welcome to the Guardian ad Litem Program training for child advocates that has been created to prepare you for your role and responsibilities in this eminently important position. If you have reached this point, it means you have completed our interview/background check process and been invited to training.

This pre-service training methodology was developed to:
•Be less challenging for prospective volunteers in terms of time commitment
•Utilize a variety of learning styles to create a friendlier learning experience
•Expedite the entire 30-hour training process without compromising the quality or quantity of the training content 

PHASE 1 - Independent Study   

The first 3 chapters of this training comprise the Independent Study portion of your learning commitment.  All 3 chapters should be completed prior to your entering the classroom portion (Phase 2) of this training. These chapters would also need to be completed if you are taking your classroom training online. 


Classroom (in person or online) consists of eight pre-service chapters and two additional mandatory trainings -- "Making a Difference:  Preventing Youth Suicide and Promoting Resilience" and "Abusive Head Trauma:  An Overview for Guardians ad Litem".  These courses present a variety of topics that you need to study and understand prior to assuming your role as a child advocate. As previously mentioned, they can be completed in a classroom setting presented in your local Guardian ad Litem office or they can be completed online with oversight provided by your Child Advocate Manager. Should you experience any difficulties while accessing or navigating the courses online, please click on FAQ and open the Academy Troubleshooting Guide. 



Once you have completed Phase 2, you will be meeting with your Child Advocate Manager to discuss your first case assignment, as well as other training activities that will be taking place during Fieldwork Study (Phase 3B). Knowing the type of case you will be accepting will assist you with choosing your Electives. 

The “I am for the Child Academy” offers numerous courses that provide information and insight into topics pertinent to the work you will be doing. i.e. report writing, educational advocacy, psychotropic medication, testifying in court, etc. You are required to choose elective trainings that total minimum of 2 hours. 


This is the final portion of your pre-service training. It is an exciting, practical and “hands-on” portion of training that allows you to apply the knowledge and skills you gained in the first 2 phases of training, as well as those gained from your personal life experience. All the fieldwork activities are to be performed under the guidance of your Child Advocate Manager or in some local Guardian ad Litem circuits, a volunteer mentor. 

Throughout all phases of your training, you will hear or read two terms: Guardian ad Litem and Volunteer Child Advocate. These terms are interchangeable. As a Guardian ad Litem, you are a Volunteer Child Advocate. 

This training was created specifically for the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program’s Volunteer Pre-Service training.  However, some portions of the material comes from National Court Appointed Special Advocates (NCASA) resources. 

For Guardian ad Litem staff or volunteers, each course’s landing page will describe how to document your in-service credit in Optima. 

* In order to be consistent with inputting training hours into Optima, update to phases and required classes occurred 02/23/21.  Changes marked in green. 

Please click below for tips on how to navigate the courses: