Thousands of abused and neglected children become the subject of judicial proceedings each year in both Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Guardians Ad Litem are volunteer child advocates that represent the best interests of the child in court. A Guardian Ad Litem does not have to be a lawyer, counselor, therapist, or parent to make a difference in the life of a child.
Every volunteer is guided and supported by a Child Advocacy Manager, a staff member who assists the volunteer and guides their work. Every volunteer is also supported by a Best Interest Attorney who can file motions and proceedings before the Court.
The Guardian Ad Litem volunteer child advocate serves in a variety of roles:
- A Guardian ad Litem is a Fact Finder: They independently conduct a thorough investigation on behalf of the child. He/she interviews many people including the child, their parents, mental health professionals, neighbors, teachers, church members, law enforcement, and friends. The Guardian Ad Litem also examines and collects records from many sources concerning the child.
- The Guardian Ad Litem is a Monitor: The Guardian assures that orders of the Court are carried out, and that families and children in need receive the help that they should.
- The Guardian Ad Litem is an Advocate: Guardians writes reports for the courts and assures that the child’s wishes are heard, and that the best interest of the child is presented to the Court and agencies dealing with the child.