A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is a volunteer appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a child in dependency cases that usually involve suspected neglect or abuse. Unlike other participants in court who have multiple responsibilities, GAL volunteers are there to think of the child first.
The GAL volunteer visits the child, provides information on court proceedings, makes sure the child’s needs are being met throughout the case, tracks the progress of court and department ordered activities, and advocates for the best interests of the child to the court and relevant agencies. The GAL volunteer is also sometimes the trusted ear of a child going through the most uncertain time in his or her life.
A Guardian Ad Litem does not have to be a lawyer, counselor, therapist or parent, since he/she does not perform these roles for the child. A Guardian Ad Litem is a person who cares and has time to devote to children. Each volunteer must attend over 30 hours of training and successfully pass a thorough background screening.
If you’re interested in more information about becoming a Guardian Ad Litem to a child in Brevard, please call GAL director, Kimberly Del Gaudio at (321) 690-6823 or visit www.brevardcounty.us/guardian-ad-litem.
“Being a Guardian Ad Litem means being part of a team whose goal is to serve in the best interests of the child. It is an awesome responsibility but I get a lot of joy helping a child who may be frightened and confused gain the confidence that someone is looking out for them and help them build a relationship based on trust.”
-Bill Ryder, Guardian Ad Litem, BFP Board Chair