Guardian ad Litem Independent Study

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Phase One

Volunteer Pre-Service INDEPENDENT STUDY / Phase One is a required 6-hour course designed to provide a foundation for those interested in becoming a certified volunteer.  

CHAPTER ONE:  Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role 

In this course you will be provided important information about your role as a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem (GAL) as well as an overview of the child welfare system.  


The main objectives are to: 

  • Define your role as a volunteer GAL and the parameters of the volunteer-child relationship 
  • Understand there are competencies needed to succeed in your role such as, empathy and critical thinking 
  • Describe the nature and scope of Florida's child welfare system 
  • Discuss a child's journey through the child welfare system


CHAPTER TWO:  Child Abuse and Neglect 

Recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect is the first step in helping abused or neglected children.  To advocate for them, you will need to know the different types of abuse and neglect and the risk factors for each.  

By the end of this chapter you should be able to: 

  • Articulate what constitutes child abuse and neglect 
  • Discuss the types of child abuse and neglect 
  • Identify risk factors of child abuse and neglect 
  • Understand how to identify family strengths through the use of the resource lens

CHAPTER THREE:  Child Well-Being

This course provides an overview of the needs and development of children. Children's needs depend upon their age, stage of development, attachment to their family/caregivers, and reaction to what is happening around them. 

The objectives of this course include understanding: 

  • Age appropriate behavior in children 
  • A child's basic needs 
  • Why the Minimum Sufficient Level of Care Standard is in the best interest of children 
  • The cycle of attachment 
  • How abuse and neglect can disrupt a child's development

This material has been exclusively designed for I am for the child Academy. However, some portions of the presentations come from National Court Appointed Special Advocates (NCASA) resources. 

You are not expected to complete the course in one setting.  It is recommended you complete at least one chapter at a time, allowing at least 2 hours per chapter.  

Guardian ad Litem Independent Study includes these courses

Introducing the Volunteer Role
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Child Abuse and Neglect
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Child Well-Being
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