- The Seminole County Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program will host an information session to recruit volunteer child advocates. The GAL Orientation will take place at the Seminole County Juvenile Justice Center, located at 190 Eslinger Way, Sanford FL.
The session will be offered on Thursday February 7, 2019 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is a first step in the process prior to attending the GAL pre-service training class on February 22, 2019.
In Seminole County, the GAL program represents nearly 600 children. These children are at the center of legal cases, without a voice. Guardian ad Litem volunteers appear in court on behalf of children representing their best interest. They are the voice of the child.
“We need more volunteers willing to step up and provide voices for those children who do not have the benefit of a Guardian ad Litem,” said Sharon Graham, Circuit Director for the Seminole County Guardian ad Litem Program.
According to Graham, there are currently 150 certified dedicated volunteers and 7 Child Advocate Managers, and 4 Child Best Interest attorneys representing Seminole County’s abused children who are under court supervision. The need, however, is greater than the current bank of volunteers can meet. Thirty percent of children are still in need of volunteer advocates.
The GAL Program represents the best interests of abused, abandoned and neglected children who have open cases and are under the jurisdiction of the dependency court.
“Our volunteers come from all walks of life,” said Graham. “There are no specific educational requirements as we train our volunteers and make them part of a team that includes a highly qualified best interest attorney, and a Child Advocate Manager, so they are never alone in the process.”
Volunteers must be 21 years of age, complete an application and pass a background screening before being admitted to training class.
The free orientation is open to the public. To RSVP to attend a session, or for more information on volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem advocate, please contact Sandra Prieto, Volunteer Recruiter at 407-665-6077 or Sandra. Prieto@gal.fl.gov