CHILDREN'S NEED REQUESTS
The state provides for the daily needs of children in the dependency system. However, children in the child welfare system need more help than the system can provide, and they deserve to participate in normal, age-appropriate activities. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay supports the needs of abused and neglected children in the child welfare system in Pinellas and Pasco Counties.
We are there to help celebrate during milestones--an 8th grade dance, a birthday, or a graduation from high school.
Children who have been removed from their parents have typically experienced severe trauma and then must cope with major disruptions on their path to safety and permanency. Lack of resources and additional unmet needs often play a major part in decreasing placement stability and stress on the caregiving family and child.
When a child's future hangs in the balance, we are there.
Beds, mattresses, bedding, car seats, and clothing are the items of greatest need most often requested by Guardian ad Litem volunteers working to ensure children are stabilized from crisis situations. These items are necessary to ensure that children removed from their homes are placed in a safe and stable environment.
We are there when a child is placed into care with nothing but the clothes on their back.
Children often also need help to catch up academically, after being moved multiple times and attending a variety of schools – tutoring and other educational resources are available through the Foundation to help.
We are there when a child has been moved 5 times and just can't keep up with their school lessons-falling further and further behind.
Every child deserves love. Every child deserves a home and family. And along the way, what is often a hard and troubled way, these children deserve hugs, their own pillow, and their own undergarments. They deserve a way to transport their belongings in something other than a big black garbage bag. Every child deserves a good night’s sleep and a bed to call their own.
Our children’s needs request process meets those needs.
Thanks to your continued advocacy more than 4100 individual children’s needs request were met in 2020!!
To access the appropriate form, please click on the icon or link below.
BASIC/MEDICAL/ REQUEST LINK HERE. EDUCATIONAL REQUEST LINK HERE. NORMALCY REQUEST LINK** HERE.
If you know of individuals, corporations, service clubs or faith communities that would be interested in funding normalcy activities, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell Us How Your Request Made A Difference!
We have included a series of instructional videos and "How-To" documents to help you navigate your way through the form.
It's easy--just click on the video camera for the video or the How To Book for the "How-To" Document.
BASIC NEEDS HOW TO VIDEO HERE AND DOCUMENT HERE.
EDUCATIONAL HOW TO VIDEO HERE AND DOCUMENT HERE.
NORMALCY NEEDS HOW TO VIDEO HERE AND DOCUMENT HERE.
My child is in emergency need of new clothing, how often are requests reviewed? Emergency Needs Requests will be reviewed within 48 hours. Normalcy and Educational requests are reviewed within 5 days. Please note, licensed foster parents can request reimbursement up to $75 from case management to purchase clothing for a child who is newly removed. For educational and normalcy requests, we advise you to put in a request 2 weeks prior to when you need the request fulfilled to ensure enough time for any follow up information and payment.
My child’s case originated outside of Circuit 6, can I apply for a request from the Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay? We support children whose cases originated in Pinellas and Pasco Counties but in some circumstances we will also support children from other circuits who are living in Pinellas and Pasco County and being visited by a circuit GAL. Visiting GALS should first request assistance from the originating circuit for any non-emergency needs. If assistance is not available from the originating circuit, we will consider the request on a case by case basis and based upon available resources. For emergency requests, such as clothing, we will provide gift cards for any child seen by one of our GAL volunteers or staff. If you have an out of county case, you can find the foundation that serves the originating circuit here. http://guardianadlitem.org/get-involved/find-local-program-2/
Can I place a request for a normalcy or tutoring request for a child from our Circuit who is placed in another Circuit? Because it is more challenging to monitor the use of normalcy activities and tutoring for children who are out of circuit, we will review these on a case by case basis. Factors considered will be placement stability and support for follow-up to ensure attendance.
How does form get to the person who is approving it? The form automatically sends the form to the appropriate location. So, if you put in an emergency request for Pasco, it will automatically be sent to the Pasco office for approval.
The form asks for “type of payment,” how do I know what type of payment I should put there? Our preferred form of payment for purchases is credit card but if you are uncertain that the vendor will take a credit card payment, please call and ask prior to filling out the form. We understand that sometimes, smaller businesses or independent contractors (i.e. tutors) do not accept credit cards and we can cut a check if necessary. Please leave ample time for a check, however, as we only cut checks on the 1st and the 15th of the month.
When do I need to submit a W-9? If payment is to an individual for a recurring service (i.e. tutoring) you will need to provide a W-9. You can find the link to send the vendor that here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw9.pdf
Can I request funds for a family need, such as car repairs, utilities, childcare, medical care/psychological testing for parents, bus passes for family, etc.? On a case by case basis, special circumstances may be considered if it is affecting permanency. If you would like to discuss a family need prior to completing the form, please contact email@example.com.
Can I submit a request for a child who is living in the home that is not in the dependency system? No.
Can I request funding for a phone or phone service for a child? No. Although we understand phones are a normalcy need for our teens, we do not provide funds for phones or phone cards currently. Many of our youth use old phones or devices that are Wi-Fi capable can be utilized when they are in a location with Wi-Fi access. If there is a need that you believe should be considered, please contact us before submitting the form.
Can I submit a request to do something special with my GAL child for bonding purposes like going to MOSI, lunch at a restaurant, or going to the zoo? Yes. You may also request normalcy activities for non-recurring programs, like football for a semester at school, spring break camp, or an 8-week soccer program. In the event that additional payment for ongoing normalcy activities is needed, caregivers should have plans to provide funding for continuation beyond the 4-6 weeks that we are able to provide. When funds are available, we can renew normalcy requests beyond 4-6 weeks, but due to demand, funding will not exceed $500 per child. Form: Normalcy
My child needs clothing right away as they came into care with nothing! What do I do? Clothes to Kids provides some support for clothing for children. Stores are located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg and appointments and referrals are required. Eligibility guidelines can be found here. The Public Defender’s Office also maintains clothes closets in both Clearwater and New Port Richey. Eckerd also maintains closet as well. No child should be without their basic needs. All Guardian ad Litem Program Offices also have access to gift cards for emergency clothing needs. To get a gift card to purchase clothing from a retailer such as Walmart or Target right away, fill out the Emergency/Basic/Medical Needs form and under type of payment choose “Gift Card from the office.” Form: Emergency, Basic, Medical
My GAL kids have a great caregiver, but they are sleeping on blow up mattresses on the floor. Can I request a bed? Yes, you can. We provide beds/mattresses/linens for non-relative and relative caregivers and youth aging out of the system. Our preferred bedding provider is Walmart due to cost and the flexibility to ship directly to the home or arrange pickup at a designated store. Form: Emergency, Basic, Medical
My teen needs a bus pass to get to work, can I request one? These will be considered on a case by case basis for teens who have educational needs or need a means to get to and from work. PSTA has a transportation disadvantage program that all foster youth should qualify for that provides bus passes for as little as $11/month. Bus passes cannot be provided to parents/caregivers. Form: Emergency, Basic Medical
My teen is enrolled in a virtual school and needs a laptop or tablet, can I request this? Yes. We will purchase laptops or tablets for children. Laptops are generally funded at around $200 and Tablets between $50 - $100. We do not provide iPad or iMacs as the cost is prohibitive. Form: Education
My child or teen is a grade behind due to moving twice in the past year, is tutoring available? Yes, tutoring is available. Educational needs are a priority for our funders. Tutoring requests will be funded in 6 - week increments and qualify for recurring funds with an update from the tutor and an invoice from the tutor. Form: Education
Who will find the tutor to work with my child or teen? The applicant is responsible for finding the tutor and planning with the family. If payment is going to an individual, they will need to provide a W-9 which you can find here. Please get that W-9 filled out prior to submitting the request so that you can upload it to the application. You might want to check Wyzant.com to find tutors in your area.
*My GAL child has completed the first round of tutoring how do I request continuation? You will request an invoice and a progress report detailing what the child has been working on and the progress made from the tutor. Once you have both of those, you can fill out the education form and mark YES when asked if it is a continuation. You will need to upload both the invoice and the progress report to the online application. Please note, the child must have been able to attend a minimum of 75% of the sessions in the prior period to be eligible for continuation of funding. Form: Education
My GAL teen is getting his driver’s license and needs help with insurance, can we submit a request for that? No. On May 1, 2017, Governor Rick Scott signed SB 60 into law allowing Keys to Independence to reimburse youth and caregivers for the costs associated with driver education, licensure, and motor vehicle insurance for young adults in foster care so they can have the same opportunity as children who are not in foster care. The Keys to Independency website includes an application form and all other details. Please contact your Case Manager or Child Advocacy Manager for assistance with these requests.
Can I request a birthday gift or holiday gift for my GAL child/teen? All Guardian ad Litem offices have a stock of “Birthday Bags” and gift cards provided by Angels Against Abuse, as well as, “Birthday-Party-In-A-Bag” (everything you need to have a birthday party including a cake mix and frosting!). Requests may be submitted for other items for celebratory or bonding purposes. We may have a donor who may be able to fulfill individual wishes for children’s birthdays. If you have a child with a special wish – please email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see if we are able to fulfill it. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay hosts a holiday gift drive each year. Applications are accepted September – October of each year.
If I get a gift card do I need to keep receipts? YES! Gift cards are as good as cash and anyone who is given a gift card must keep all receipts and turn those in along with any unused funds on the Gift Cards. You will submit your receipts to the office from which you received them.
Once I have a request fulfilled, is there anything else I must do? Yes. You must fill out a follow up report a maximum of 60 days past the time of approval. It will only take you 5 -10 minutes, and it helps the Foundation report to our funders. We anonymize any information that we receive prior to sharing success stories. Applicants with follow up reports outstanding will not be able to submit new requests until the follow up report is completed.
I want to encourage my GAL child/teen to do better at school or with his behavior. Do you have any programs that would support this? Yes. Our Learn To Earn Program provides children/teens an opportunity to make a 9-week goal and choose a reward for completing it. Preference is given to experiential or educational rewards no more than $100. You can fill out the Learn to Earn Goal Setting Form here. Once the Learn to Earn Goal has been approved, you can begin working with your child to accomplish that goal. Once the goal has been completed, you can put in for the fulfillment of the reward here.
My child's family needs resources beyond what the Foundation can provide, where can I turn for help? In Pinellas County the Healthy Start Coalition has put together a manual with all kinds of helpful resources including but not limited to family planning, childcare, domestic violence, dental care, employment and legal aid. You can find that resource here. In Pasco County, Pasco Youth Initiative has put together that information and you can find the Pasco Resource Guide here.
Do you purchase theme park tickets? For many of our children, visiting a theme park is a special occasion and provides normalcy during a turbulent time in their life. Theme park tickets may be purchased for normalcy purposes when funds are available--please reach out to email@example.com prior to submitting a request to see if funds are available. Tickets are limited to one-day options unless an annual pass is the same amount as a one-day ticket. Ticket purchases are limited to 1 ticket per year/per child and one adult to accompany them (GAL, foster parent, sibling, biological parent, etc.). Tickets should be requested 6 weeks in advance of use. Any unused tickets after 6 months will be reassigned to another child who has requested assistance.
What happens if a purchase is lost in the mail? The Foundation recognizes that from time to time there will be delivery mistakes, breakage or other issues with requested children's needs items. Guardians ad Litem and staff are asked to pay special attention to addresses provided for delivery and verify information prior to submitting a children's needs request. GALF reserves the right to refuse additional request fulfillment due to inaccurate information being provided.
For a complete list of programs and services see our Children's Needs Program Overview.