Guardians Ad Litem Program
The Guardian ad Litem Program was established in 1980 to minimize trauma and maximize children’s normalcy while in foster care. The State of FL GAL mandates that every child has a GAL to act as the full legal party and a stable parent and mentor that cares for the child through their time in the system.
The Guardian Ad Litem Program has consistently increased the number of dependent children that achieve permanency and continued to target children in the dependency system for more than the national average of 24 months in 2021-2022. With an impressive 98% or 529 children whose cases closed achieving permanency in 2021-2022, Voices and the GAL Program again successfully endeavored to impact the required coordination of public systems that often unintentionally impede children’s expeditious achievement of permanency despite statutory mandates.
- A total of 111 newly certified Guardian Ad Litem volunteers were recruited, screened, completed the required 30-Hour Initial GAL Training, and were assigned to represent dependent children in Miami-Dade County. All received educational advocacy training as part of their initial training to enable them to assist children to meet age-appropriate educational objectives.
- A total of 608 Guardian Ad Litem volunteers represented dependent children in 2021-2022, including 71% primarily ethnic minorities with 49% Hispanic; 14% Black, non-Hispanic; and 8% other/multi-ethnic. The remaining 29% were White, non-Hispanic.
- In addition to the required 30-Hour Initial Guardian Ad Litem Training, 42 volunteers were trained and given information and materials to serve as Certified Educational Surrogates for Miami-Dade Public School children. These volunteers advocated for children to ensure each child received the appropriate grade- and achievement-level placements and that the educational needs of children and youth they represented were met with tutoring, mentoring and/or via MDCPS’ Exceptional Student Services programs, as appropriate for each child.
- A total of 25 Guardian Ad Litem volunteers received training in the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children to enable them to effectively advocate for human trafficking victims.
Guardians Ad Litem undergo extensive training and background checks to work as the “eyes and ears” of the courtroom, serving as a child’s protector and court-appointed advocate to represent their best interests and needs while in foster care.
A Guardians Ad Litem assesses the child’s needs and wants, and works with the foster agency and VFC to find a safe and permanent home for the child while helping to provide mental, health and physical stability.
Guardians Ad Litem volunteers and staff are the light that guides our children in foster care, serving as their voice in court to ensure their rights, needs, and permanency. Guardians ad Litem are a team of trained volunteers, attorneys, program supervisors, and program managers who represent foster children in court. You can lend your voice by donating, volunteering for our Guardians Ad Litem program, or starting a conversation in your community.