advocates needed for abused, abandoned or neglected children Healthy Children & Families


Volunteer Opportunity Details:

Last updated on September 17, 2013

The State of Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program, Ninth Judicial Circuit needs volunteers to be advocates for abused, neglected or abandoned children. There are over three hundred children in Osceola County who have no one to speak for them, and tell the dependency court what their needs and wishes are. Osceola County has the highest rate of child abuse, neglect or abandonment in the state of Florida, and with no chance of state funding being increased, it is critical for the community to step up. These children, ages 0-18 are placed in foster homes throughout the Central Florida area, but most are in Osceola and Orange counties.

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is a volunteer who is appointed by a judge in dependency court to be the advocate for children who have been removed from their home due to alleged abuse, neglect or abandonment. The volunteer GAL looks out for the best interests of the child throughout the court case and works with the other social service agencies to meet the needs of the child. Case workers come and go but hopefully, throughout the time a child has an open case, there will be only one GAL ---whom the child can depend on.

GALs are a very diverse group of volunteers from graduate students to young professionals to stay-at-home moms to middle-aged men and women to retirees. They all have one thing in common, an interest in making a difference in a child’s life. A GAL may be assigned to a case working only with one child or a sibling group. Preferences for advocating for babies, young children, tweens or teenagers can also be matched within the GAL Program. Each volunteer works with a staff coordinator on the child’s case. It usually takes about five hours of time a month to be a GAL including a monthly visit to the child.

Louise Herbert, a Hunter’s Creek Resident has been a GAL since 2009. She said, “I recently retired and wanted to do some volunteer work that I thought would make a difference. I joined the GAL program in the fall of 2009. At that time I was assigned to a lovely young girl who I have worked with over the past year through her transition though two foster homes and then reunification in her own home. During this time I made home visits each month, spoke with her teacher and attended court when there was a case hearing. This has been a very rewarding experience and one that I believe makes a lasting difference in other people’s lives. I was a little uncomfortable in the beginning because it was such a new experience for me. As the family and I got to know each other and developed a trust, it became easier. My role was to represent the child, and make sure her needs were addressed and that her wishes were communicated to the court. The GAL role is very rewarding and makes a difference in the child’s life that they will carry with them forever. This is such a small time commitment for such a huge benefit.”

To volunteer or learn more about the Program, please call Linder Snider, Volunteer Program Coordinator, 407-742-6656 or e-mail at linder.snider@gal.fl.gov. There is also a GAL website at www.GuardianAdLitem.org.

To be a GAL, you must be at least twenty-one years of age, and be able to pass a background screening and interview as well as make a one year commitment to the program. Thirty (30) hours of training must be completed.

This opportunity is sponsored by: State Of Florida Guardian Ad Litem Program, Ninth Judicial Circuit-Osceola County

We need volunteers who are free at these times
Evenings  Weekdays
Monthly  Weekends
This volunteer opportunity is available to the following types of volunteers
Adults (26-54)  Young Adults (18-25)
We are looking for volunteers with the following skills
Advocacy

I'm interested in this opportunity

Contact Person:
Linder Snider, Volunteer Coordinator, (phone), (email)
*  View all agency contacts

Address:
 Osceola County Courthouse, 2 Courthouse Square, Suite 3400
Kissimmee, FL 34741
(See a map)

Directions:

 3rd floor of Osceola County Courthouse which is located off of Emmett Street in downtown Kissimmee. Bus stop at Courthouse.

Web Site: http://www.guardianadlitem.org
Last updated on September 17, 2013


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