Independent Study - Chapter One | Developed by Guardian ad Litem State Office Training Team

Course description

In this course you will be provided important information about your role as a Volunteer Child Advocate as well as an overview of the child welfare system.  

The main objectives are to: 

  • Define your role as a volunteer 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

This material has been exclusively designed for I am for the child Academy. 

Please note the term Guardian ad Litem (GAL) means the same as Volunteer Child Advocate.

Guardian ad Litem State Office  Training Team
Guardian ad Litem State Office Training Team
Training Specialists

Thank you for caring about abused, abandoned and neglected children.  As Director of Operations for Florida‘s Guardian ad Litem Program, on behalf of our children and our training team, I want to thank you for your interest in this course.  

I encourage you to view all the trainings available through I am for the Child Academy. We will be updating course offerings on a regular basis and hope you check back in with us often.  Should you decide to participate in this course I hope it meets your expectations and assists in your role working with our most vulnerable children.  Once you have completed the training, I would appreciate it if you took the time to rate the course and provide any feedback you would like to share.  



If you have any questions prior to enrolling in this course please email

Course Curriculum

Section 1: Program Overview
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Section 3: The Child Welfare System
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Section 4: Advocacy in Action
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Section 5: Chapter Wrap-Up
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Reviews (81)

Thorough and thoughtful

by Esther Voliton
It's clear a lot of work was put into the materials. The information was easy to follow , a good overview of the program.


by Donna Trieskey
The chapter flowed well. The information was in logical order and presented in a way that was understandable. I enjoyed the videos that were incorporated in the presentation.

Comprehensive and Easy To Navigate

by Carol Rogero
I thought the lessons were extremely easy to understand and navigate. I really appreciated the ability to stop and resume when needed.
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Thorough and thoughtful

by Esther Voliton
It's clear a lot of work was put into the materials. The information was easy to follow , a good overview of the program.


by Donna Trieskey
The chapter flowed well. The information was in logical order and presented in a way that was understandable. I enjoyed the videos that were incorporated in the presentation.

Comprehensive and Easy To Navigate

by Carol Rogero
I thought the lessons were extremely easy to understand and navigate. I really appreciated the ability to stop and resume when needed.

Introducing the Volunteer Role

by Patty Nicholson
Didn't feel as though the content presented prepared you for the exam. Good content!

by Julie Laird

by Beatriz Rodriguez

Chapter 1 Review

by Laura Marguriet
I feel very excited to proceed after completing the first chapter! It was very informative and I think I have already learned so much in a short amount of time. I am ready for the next step!

Sales Consultant

Information very informative.

Chapter 1

by Gina Luther
Gave me insight to the need and power of volunteering


by Christy Smith
It was very informative and I learned a lot about the volunteer role and my requirements.

by Carol Taylor
It was very straight forward and very informative.

You really should watch this video

by Steven Smith
I was particulary struck by being able to listen to children speaking. One child said "No one listens to kids." The GAL and CASA programs counter that fact.

by susan jesse

by Barrie Sonenblum
it was interesting, well explained and easy to maneuver.


by Kristen Woodall
Thorough and easy to complete, easy to navigate, and beneficial. I enjoyed this course.

by Kinneret Charania


by Kathlene Lopez-Martin
Clear and concise

The Importance of standards

by clara Colon-Acevedo
The standards are tired in to the role of the GALs and it assist us with boundaries and legalities. It provides the dos and the don'ts to becoming a GAL. It always goes back to the interest of the child. This was an important overview for the GALS.


by Craig Fletcher
Overall covered the GAL program well when coupled with the in house interview I had. Not too lengthy and yet touching on a myriad of subjects that may ensue later as a volunteer.


by Diana Kenney
Well done. Excellent explanations, videos.

Great presentation

by Jacqueline Fautt
Presentation was very well done and user friendly. The flow of information was easy to follow and understand

Lots of Information

by Jill Zammas
This course was very long, but informative. I liked that there was a narrator. Made it a little easier to get through all of the information.

Very concise and helpful

by Maryann Murbach
This tutorial was a very thorough overview of my responsibilities as a GAL volunteer. The mission statement "I am for the child", says it all. To have an important resource as the Guardian Ad Litem, is a vital tool for the community to access for at risk families and young children. Just having someone who is willing to listen carefully and try to make things better can be a real life saver for our most vulnerable children, who through no fault of their own have been made to suffer. I sincerely hope to contribute my time and talent to address some of the serious problems facing vulnerable families at risk. There seems to be a very strong network of support staff that can assist anyone who volunteers their time and effort to advocate for the children who are placed into this program.

Timney Review of Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Donna Timney
The content was pertinent and clearly presented. The combination of audio and written content/directives was great. The only feedback I have to offer is that some of the directives were not indicative of what appeared on the screen. For instance, when the narrator said click "Next", there was no "Next" option, only "Submit". There were other instances where similar situations occurred. This was confusing and caused concern as to the ability to access subsequent material. Overall, it was an engaging presentation.

Introducing the GAL Role

by Barb Whitman
As a Trainer, I thought the course was excellent!! I love the blended learning that took place and how it could be understand by all learners ... whether visual, auditory or kinesthetic. Very information ... very effective learning tool!!

Very informative course

by Shelley Shevchik
I liked being able to take this course online. I learned a lot about the specifics of this program, and was able to absorb all of the information quickly. The material was thorough, and I feel that I am now equipped to move forward as a GAL with confidence. Between my educational background, my life experience, and this course, I am ready to get started, and look forward to the next training course.

great title

by Brenda Fruster
text brought you into a reality

Ad-Litem Program

by Karroll Hauseknecht
Good insight to the program, however I would like to have be able to read material myself, rather than have the recordings, as I have a hearing loss.

Great Course

by Gina Miles
This course did a great job with offering a lot of detailed information in a concise and condensed way. I enjoyed learning about my role as a GAL and am looking forward to getting started. The course also helped encourage me in my role as a GAL, so that I can remember when things are difficult why I'm there. Loved the video included about how GAL's have helped and encouraged their children!

GAL Volunteer Role

by Priscilla Dobbs
Easy to follow, Outlined well, very good examples!

by Suzanne Chambers
This was a great course, easy to navigate and a very informative.

Good intro

by Craig Davide
Good overview of the system.

Chapter 1 review

by Shaila Luciano-Wong
Chapter 1 was very informative and easy to navigate.

Good title

by Shirley Norton
difficulty opening some of the videos, otherwise good content.

GAL Review

by Joseph Chavez
Very in depth course since I took the time to click the links. I didn't like the photographs used. I would have liked photographs of children and adults in realistic photographs instead of posed face photographs and stock photos.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Kathleen Daniels
Presentation was very well done and user friendly. The flow of information was easy to follow and understand.

by Margie Mudri
Excellent information

Very informative

by Vicki Holley
Very informative. Videos were easy to understand, and enjoyable. Easy read and interesting. Appropriate length for topics covered and intended audience.

Very Informative

by Jennifer Cunningham
This training was very informative and easy to understand. I look forward in making a difference for the child. I am for the child!! :)

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Maria Anduiza
It will benefit trainees to be able to download actual guide as to their "GAL child's first visit": what to look for what to say This is what I hear as to suggestions on how to improve training. On the other hand, I enjoy this chapter - very informative, professional, concise and easy to understand / follow.

Great Info

by Enide Bellamy
Strong sense of the GAL responsibilities was established here

Chapter 1

by Dana Aitken
I felt the program was very user friendly.

Informative and Mostly Useful

Lots of good information about process and roles presented. I had technical difficulty accessing the form for Volunteer Competencies. I would have liked more information on confidentiality.


by Lynda Daubert
It was informative.

Introducing the GAL/ CASA

by Bonnie Greenblatt
Questions and Answers Videos Very informative

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Rochelle Blaha
The Volunteer introduction was thorough and interesting.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Gecelyne Dixon
I really enjoyed this course. This was a lot of information -- easy to understand and very useful. Really in dept.

GAL Volunteer Role Chapter One

by Holly VanHoose
This was an excellent course, easy to follow, and if needed to be interrupted during course, could get back to it easily.


by Tracey Marsh
The intro/training was full of good information. The timelines, roles and responsibilities, and what to expect in court segments were especially helpful. The checklist was also a good way to determine where my current strengths are, and what I need to learn more about.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role, Chapter One

by James Robert Ross
Comprehensive and engaging. Well done.

by Deborah Paraday

Perfectly explains what the information in this chapter is about.

by Allison Gheen
Extremely informative. The mixture of videos and exercises kept this course from getting boring.

I am for the child

by Deborah Kadrovach
Really great information that really reinforces the need for each part of the team. Also gives familiarity with the terminology used in the program.

Excellent overview

by Cristal Van Bloem
Clear and concise background of the expectations of a GAL and the welfare judicial system.

Introducing the GAL volunteer role

by Angela Horne
Very informative about the GAL core values and vision statement.

chapter 1

by barbara finney
easy to follow, although I did have some difficulty with initially pulling the program up.

Full of intresting and valuable information!

by Luz Pastrana
This is so full of information and details that I was not expecting. The job of the advocate is to make sure this one chid is given evey resourse that is availble to him/or her. To make sure you as an advocate give this child every opportunity to make them safe.

by Wendy Norcia
This was easy to follow, i enjoyed the links to the outside sources to view additional information and the flow charts.

Chapter 1

by Michelle Shassian
I thought the course was thorough and gave a lot of valuable information on how the system works. Interested in knowing exactly what a GAL does in the day to day operations.

Introduction to the casa/gal program

by Beverly Watkins
Was good.

Volunteer Role

by Lutricia Marsh
This course was very informative and eye-opening to the extent of how important it is to have an advocate to represent children; who areunable to help themselves


by Heather Lynn Hazelwood
Very informative

Good title

by Kathy McGuire
Very thorough. Lots of information.

chapter 1 review

by Donald Stanton
Good information I was reviewing and it was good

by Lynn Boyd
I thought the course was very thorough. When questions popped into my head, they got answered. It would be nice to have a little more information on what is appropriate to say to a child and also how to conduct any conversations which may occur with the parent.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by William Haynie Sr

Excellent Introduction to Role

by Patricia Wahlstrom
I found the online course to be very interesting and comprehensive as an introduction to the GAL role and expectations. In completing the final section, the competency checklist, I see that there is much to learn about this important program and what I need to learn.

Overwhelming information made simple

Jumping in, there is a lot of information to digest. The introduction to the GAL volunteer role was meaty but simplistic. All the resources stay available for review, which is very helpful as well.

Great Overview of the Volunteer Role

by Cindy Rasmussen
This course explained in detail the requirements for the GAL role. I took five pages of notes and will use them for reference. I also printed out the program standards, the State of Florida position description, and developing competencies checklist for reference and future use.

Very Informative

by Kendel Sailer
Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role was very informative and helped me gain a better understanding of why children go into the welfare system and what my role will be to assist them once there. I am looking forward to the next lessons and learning more about this very important role that I am about to undertake.

GAL Volunteer Role

by Maria Dieguez
The information was very educational.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Deborah Lauren


by Diane Parker
Thoroughly enjoyed the introduction to the online GAL Volunteer Role. It was concise, yet informative. It was easy to navigate. Enjoyed the interactive aspect of the slides.

Great Introduction!

by LeTrenna Mosley
This chapter course was a great introduction of what the Guardian Ad Litem program is, how the court system works, and what my role will be as a GAL volunteer and what will duties will be expected of me. I learned a lot in this course and it made me even more excited to serve as a GAL volunteer!

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role

by Sandra Drummonds
Very In depth and Clear Description of GAL's role.

Chapter One

by Carol Daugherty
Very informative and concise. It contained mixed media which helped to keep down monotony. New wording was introduced at a pace that was understandable and relevant. Terminology in any program is important and this mixed media presentation introduced it very well.

GAL Volunteer

by Doretha Byers
I thought it was very interesting, and I am looking forward to becoming a GAL VOLUNTEER

Title described content

by Joan Sullivan
Information was well presented. The only problem had was with the competencies checklist. It would not let me fill out my name or date. There was one statement under "Initiative that did not seem to be complete. I think it was the third statement. Otherwise, well done.

Thorough and perfect for an opening primer.

by Drew Nederpelt
The information provided was done so in a manner that allowed the user to move at their own pace, was relevant (and at times redundant, but that's how people learn) and not overly burdensome, convoluted or time-consuming.

Introducing the GAL Volunteer Role -- Excellent Presentation

by susan gardner
The course was well outlined in the presentation. Easy to hear and comprehend and gave an overall understanding of what is the role of a GAL Volunteer.

Thorough and detailed

by Dick WAGNER
Extremely comprehensive, easy to follow and informative.