Welcome to the Florida Guardian ad Litem I am for the child Academy!
When a child is abused, abandoned or neglected and cannot remain at home in a healthy, safe environment, she or he is removed and a court case begins. The Guardian ad Litem Program is appointed by the judge to represent the child's best interest and focuses exclusively on the child.
The Florida Guardian ad Litem I am for the child Academy is designed to provide a learning environment for our volunteers, staff and our community at any time in any location. The training contained in our Academy is offered to individuals without cost with the intent to educate on child advocacy and child well-being with the hope that all Florida's children will have a voice. In 2020 alone, our Academy had almost 5,000 new accounts and over 61,000 course enrollments. We strive to provide diverse, high-quality trainings for our more than 10,000 volunteers, our staff and our community.
Florida's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program represents the best interest of children alleged to be abused, abandoned or neglected who are involved in court proceedings. This means advocacy to assist the court with decisions that impact the life of a child. These decisions include a permanent home within a year, services needed to address physical, emotional, and educational needs as well as the child’s safety and well-being. GALs visit children regularly to learn their circumstances, wishes, needs, and to explain the process in a way they can understand. GALs give children a voice and help them find their own.
The Florida GAL Program uses a team approach to represent children using community volunteers, Child Advocate Managers (CAM), and GAL Program Attorney. GAL volunteers bring a community-based, common sense approach to children's cases. They are supervised and supported by Child Advocate Managers who help them navigate the complex dependency system. GAL Program Attorneys provide essential legal counsel, attend hearings and depositions, negotiate outside of the courtroom and take on appeals. The unique perspective and expertise of each team member complements the others and all are critical in advocating for the best interests of children.
Our Program Mission: "I am for the child."
Program Vision: The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program will represent abused, abandoned, and neglected children in accordance with Florida Statutes and provide proactive, child-centered, trauma-informed advocacy for their best interests, including their legal interests, using a partnership of community advocates and professional staff.
See how volunteers help across the state of Florida!