For the last 35-years, Guardian Ad Litem program has helped more than 200,000 of Florida’s neglected, abandoned and abused children. The more than 10,000 individuals that are volunteering their time are committed to giving a voice to those children in Florida that are the most vulnerable. The programs have seen tremendous growth in both the number of volunteers and level of advocacy provided as a result of their training, legislation, public-private partnerships, sharing of best practices, and volunteer recruitment. Every year, the Guardian Ad Litem program volunteers save Florida $40 million in benefits and salaries.
The program has been invaluable for the state of Florida. Along with being an advocate for the most vulnerable children in the state, volunteers bring an immeasurable value to the children in the program. Children in the program who have a guardian ad litem volunteer advocating on their behalf do better in school, are 50 percent less likely to return to foster care, and are more likely to be adopted. The past 35-years Florida’s Guardian Ad Litem program has seen thousands of volunteers and staff work tirelessly on the behalf of the neglected and abused children of Florida. Working with local non-profit organizations, businesses, universities, and individual guardian ad litem volunteers, the programs mission of “I am for the child,” has been realized. From 1999, Theresa Beatty dedicated her time to ensure that the voice of the child is heard, and their best interests and wishes conveyed to the judge overseeing their case.