Judges appoint Guardian ad Litem (GAL) volunteers to represent the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. Each year, more than 600,000 children experience foster care in this country. Because there are not enough GAL volunteers to represent all of the children in care, judges typically assign GAL volunteers to their most difficult cases.
GAL volunteers make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal and social service system or languish in inappropriate group or foster homes. Volunteers stay with each case until it is closed and the child is placed in a safe, permanent home. For many abused children, their GAL volunteer will be the one constant adult presence in their lives.
Independent research has demonstrated that children with a GAL volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care and less likely to reenter care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound and tragic impact on our society, which has fundamentally altered our societal norms and professional practices. The Guardian ad Litem program continues to advocate for children that have been abused, abandoned and neglected. COViD19 and social distancing recommendations have changed the way we serve our children, but hasn't affect the passion of our advocacy. Information sessions, interviews, training, visitations and court hearings are mainly being conducted virtually to follow CDC guidelines. As we work on fully reopening our offices we are focused on keeping our volunteers, children and our community healthy by adapting to the new normal. Become a volunteer today! Visit GuardianadLitem.org.
About Guardian Ad Litem Program - 5th Judicial Circuit - Marion County
223 SW Broadway St., Ocala, FL 34471, US
To recruit, train, support and supervise volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children who are alleged to be abused, neglected, or abandoned and who are involved in court proceedings.
Community volunteers are recruited to represent children who find themselves involved with the judicial system. A small staff helps volunteers ensure that a child's needs are met. Volunteers help create permanency and consistency in the life of a child.