Become a Voice for Abused, Neglected Children in Hernando
A guardian ad litem is a trained volunteer appointed by the court to advocate on behalf of the child and to make recommendations to the judge to ensure they grow up in a safe, stable and permanent home.
HERNANDO COUNTY – More than 600 abused and neglected children are currently involved with Hernando and Citrus county courts.
Most of them are younger than12 and have been removed from their parents because of alcohol or drug addiction. The court system is seeking volunteers to act as guardians ad litem for these children.
A guardian ad litem is a trained volunteer appointed by the court to advocate on behalf of the child. The GAL becomes familiar with the child’s case and makes recommendations to the judge to ensure they grow up in a safe, stable and permanent home. Research has shown that when a dependent child is assigned to a GAL volunteer, they spend less time in foster care and do better in school. They are more likely to receive the services they need to overcome their circumstances and more likely to acquire the skills to succeed in life.
“My life is full and complete because of the program,” said Pam Gary is a GAL volunteer in Citrus. “I started 26 years ago as one of the very first GALs in Citrus County. Lots of people ask me how I can do this kind of work. My response is always the same, how can I not?”
Eligible volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, complete a 30-hour pre-service training program and pass a criminal background check. Volunteers should expect to spend an average of 10-15 hours a month on a case. Most cases last 10-12 months. Support and guidance are provided by an assigned mentor, a volunteer supervisor and a program attorney.
The next GAL training will be held in Lecanto on April 28 and 29. The training is open to Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake and Sumter county residents. Participants must complete an application and interview before training. Contact Diana Hollwedel at (352) 812-6971 or email her at Diana.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For information about the Florida guardian ad litem program, go to guardianadlitem.org.
Hernando Court | Guardian ad Litem | Abused Children | Volunteer | TB Reporter
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