Independent Study - Chapter One | taught by Guardian ad Litem State Office

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
Guardian ad Litem State Office

Guest Speakers:  

  • Kim DelGuadio, Florida Guardian ad Litem Program Regional Director, Central Region                        
  • Deborah Lacombe, Special Counsel Florida Guardian ad Litem Program
  • Calvin Martin, Director of Program Advocacy and Inclusion Florida Guardian ad Litem Program
  • Kristen Solomon, Director of Operations Florida Guardian ad Litem Program

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 (36)

"Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities

by Rachel Danzig
This section of training was important in reviewing the guardian's role and how to better help the children. I like that this section reviewed how we must stay observant, in contact with the child and communication with agency members.


by Harmony Till
The training was excellent! Thorough! Perfect!

Good information

by Heather Butler
This gave a clear understanding of what the expectations are
Read more

"Volunteer Roles and Responsibilities

by Rachel Danzig
This section of training was important in reviewing the guardian's role and how to better help the children. I like that this section reviewed how we must stay observant, in contact with the child and communication with agency members.


by Harmony Till
The training was excellent! Thorough! Perfect!

Good information

by Heather Butler
This gave a clear understanding of what the expectations are

Excellent Training

by April Helvin
I love the setup and ease of the training. Very thorough and left me feeling like I have a good grasp on the program and expectations.

by Mary Rodriguez
This course was very informational. It touched on the basics of the Guardian Ad Litem program as well as the Department and other agencies involved in a child abuse case. I enjoyed all the learning material and I'm excited to go deeper into everything that was just overviewed.

Great intro

by Patricia Grimes
I enjoyed this intro lesson. It was organized well and presented clearly. I particularly liked the specific instructions on what to do next to move onward with the lesson. No extraneous information was included which might overload me as a newbie. Additionally the different presentation methods helped prevent brain wander.

Good intro

by Charles Benson
Good material, great testimonials. Kind of good gut check to make sure this is right for you

Nice Design

by Jessica Brown
This courses is focused, informative, easy to understand, and interactive. The only drawback was that it would not work properly on my mobile device and did not save where you were, so I had to start over a few times.


by Karen Howe
The content was presented in a logical format and included examples, additional documents and clear explanations for all the departments, acronyms and duties expected of a GAL.

by Lydia Connolly
There was quit a bit of information. I was surprised at how many individuals were assigned to a child and the roles they have. I think that is great.

Very helpful

by Max Smith
The introduction was concise in explaining the role of the GAL volunteer and the other parties involved.


by Erolina Henry Roche
This course was very informative. It broke down the role of a GAL very well and gave me a great understanding of the role that I am looking forward to taking on.

Simple, easy to follow

by Kameron Robinson
I was employed in the child welfare system for 7 years. It took some time to learn about different things like the roles that everyone plays and the court process. For a new volunteer, I think the content is simple and not overwhelming which is very important.

Introducing the Volunteer Role

by javonni hampton
This was informative, a lot of information at once. The videos played a significant role in how impactful you can be in a persons life, not only the child but for the family. I am for the child and I know this will also build character for me and not only fight for children in the courtroom but children outside of court. There are still things I need to remember but the purpose was represented well in this chapter.

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.

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!

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.

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

Good title

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

Great Info

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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.

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.