Who We Are
The Guardian ad Litem Program serves as the exclusive advocate for children in the court system in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. Volunteer Guardians ad Litem are court-appointed special advocates whose job is to serve as the voice of the child — a voice that is separate from the child’s family members, foster care providers, attorneys or social workers.
Guardians ad Litem make a profound impact on the children they serve and the communities those children call home. Children with a Guardian ad Litem are:
- More likely to be adopted
- Half as likely to re-enter foster care
- Less likely to spend time in long-term foster care
- More likely to have a plan for permanency
- More likely to perform well in school
What We Do
Volunteer Guardians ad Litem complete comprehensive training to learn how to observe children, parents and foster families. Their recommendations are critical to a judge’s analysis and final ruling on the fate of a child. In 4 out of 5 cases, all or almost all of the recommendations made by a Guardian ad Litem are accepted by the court. We provide the necessary training and program coordination for our volunteers.
The Guardian ad Litem Program is supported by the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Florida’s First Coast, Inc. The Foundation functions as a charity for children in the court systems of Jacksonville and surrounding areas. It has many functions:
- Raises awareness about abused, neglected and abandoned children
- Assists in recruiting and supporting the GAL Program and volunteers
- Provides funding to support training and retention of volunteers
- Provides support for staff and volunteers
- Provides necessities for children
CHANGE A CHILD'S STORY
The mission of Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuit’s Guardian ad Litem Program is to recruit, train and support and supervise volunteers, also known as court appointed special advocates, to speak for the best interests of children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Volunteers become familiar with the child and the child’s case so they can make recommendations to the court that help ensure a safe, caring, stable and permanent home environment.
There are currently 1,200 children assigned to the program. There are 360 certified case assigned volunteers. This is a 72% representation rate. Ideally, we would like 100% of our children to be assigned a volunteer.
We need you! Attend our Volunteer Information Sessions and learn how you can change a child’s story. Our recruiters hold sessions twice a month. They will answer the most frequently asked questions about volunteering such as time commitment and case load.
Get involved! Register at galinfosessions.eventbrite.com.
Number of specialized training hours each volunteer undergoes
Number of certified and trained GAL volunteers on the First Coast of FL
Average number of children assigned to GAL at any given month
Cost to train each GAL volunteer as CASA in FL
How Can You Help?
We are always in need of a powerful voice for abused or neglected. Please consider volunteering with the Guardian ad Litem Program. We need of committed volunteers who are willing to be a voice of compassion and care on a child’s behalf.
A financial gift to the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Florida’s First Coast, Inc. helps ensure a brighter future for the children in our court system. Your contribution will ensure that in every conversation about a child’s future, there is a clear voice that says, “I am for the child.”
Every child needs a hero. Abused, neglected and abandoned children need a Superhero! Click the button below to find out how you can help change a child’s life for a lifetime.