Mission: I am for the Child.TM In our society, and in all societies around the world, the stewardship of a child’s rights rest primarily with the family; that deeply important and often diverse group of people who are a child’s support system. A family is supposed to nurture and provide for its children. They are entrusted with the responsibility of guiding them in their customs, beliefs, culture, values and traditions. When, for whatever reason, a family is unable to live up to these obligations, a child is left to a system; a system that is full of wonderful and caring people but is ultimately ill-equipped to handle both the volume and the complexities of the cases entering it. Nationally, one child enters the “child welfare system” every two minutes.
Children in the Guardian ad Litem Program have been removed from their families and home by no fault of their own. The Guardian ad Litem Program exists to ensure a qualified and caring adult is there to ensure that children’s rights are protected at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. They serve as their voice in court and advocates exclusively for the best interest of the child.
The Guardian ad Litem Program is central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure a compassionate adult will fight for and protect a child’s right to be safe, to be treated with dignity and respect, and to learn and grow in the safe embrace of a loving family.
Vision: The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program will represent abused, abandoned, and neglected children in accordance with Florida Statutes and provide proactive, child-centered, trauma-informed advocacy for their best interests, including their legal interests, using a partnership of community advocatess and professional staff.
The Program is committed to the following Core Values, which should guide the everyday advocacy of volunteers and staff:
1) Commitment to Children: The children for whom we advocate are our most important priority.
2) Communication Built on Trust: The Program has a culture of open communication, active listening, teamwork, and regard for the views of others. This includes being honest and straightforward with our stakeholders and the children we represent.
3) Collective Empowerment: Each circuit has the authority and responsibility to make and implement the best decisions and strategies to protect and further the child's best interests. This empowerment should be passed on to volunteers, staff, and attorneys.
4) Collaboration: The Program proactively seeks to develop relationships that promote the well-being of the whole child, parents, caregivers, community partners, and other individuals who have a significant relationship with the child.
5) Courtesy: The Program values all who engage in this challenging work and treats them with respect and dignity.