In the state of Florida, when a case of child neglect, abuse or abandonment is reported, the state Department of Children and Families steps in to shelter the child. The shelter may come in the form of a foster home or another family member’s home while the child’s parents are working through their problems. The court will then appoint a Guardian ad Litem to ensure the needs of the child are being met and serve as the voice of the child in court.
The Guardian ad Litem program is a partnership of volunteers and a professional staff who are advocating for the best interests of the children affected by abuse, neglect or abandonment.
Joel Carden, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator for Santa Rosa County said, “We are for the children. If there any concerns or problems that need to be dealt with we bring that to the attention of the court. We are a voice for them to the court and we are eyes on the children for the court.”
According to Carden, Santa Rosa County has 231 children being served with only 71 volunteers to serve them.
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