We see news stories everyday about children taken from an abusive home, or because of the tragic loss of a parent-to illness or violence or incarceration. Many children in the child welfare system lose their families, their rights and their hope. Join our fight to make sure they don’t and change child’s life today! Guardian ad Litem volunteers are central to fulfilling society’s most fundamental obligation by making sure that every child has a voice in court and a qualified compassionate adult fighting for them to have a safe and permanent home with the opportunity to thrive.
Right here in Tampa Bay, more than 3,000 foster children are in front of the courts a year. At any given time, there are over 1,500 kids waiting to be appointed a volunteer advocate. By helping us support them you will not only change the life of one of the 1,500 children waiting for an advocate but also have a lasting impact in the future of our community.
Who Can Be a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer Child Advocate?
Volunteers must be at least 21 years old, and have no record of a felony or judicial finding of guilt for a crime against persons, and no prior history of abuse or neglect of a child or adult. A GAL does not have to be a lawyer, counselor, therapist or parent.
Download our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.
There are four required steps in the process to apply to be a volunteer:
1. Attend an orientation session to learn more: We hold sessions in each county at least once a week where you can learn more about the vital role our volunteers play in the lives of abused and neglected children. This session usually runs about 45 minutes and allows you to ask questions as well. CLICK HERE TO SEE A SCHEDULE OF UPCOMING SESSIONS. In Pinellas County contact Community Outreach Coordinator, Karen Malo at (727)464-6147 or Karen.email@example.com. In Pasco County contact Community Outreach Coordinator, Larnelle Scott at (727)834-3493 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please complete the following information and a recruiter will be in touch with you shortly to share more information including upcoming informational sessions and application information. Please note: Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and will have to complete a Level 2 background screening.
2. Complete a volunteer application: The application process includes a criminal background screening and requires you to provide references. (You will be provided with a link to our online application after attending an information session.)
3. Interview: Once your application is complete, you will complete a screening interview with a staff member. Applicants who successfully complete the interview process will then begin our training program.
4. Complete training: Training includes self-study material and 18 hours of classroom training. At the completion of classroom training, you will be paired with a mentor for field support. CLICK HERE FOR UPCOMING TRAINING DATES.