Monday, February 23, 2009

Motion to Remove Advocates

An attempt by the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program to remove child advocates from criminal cases in Collier County was denied after a judge said it not only would leave children without representation, but could result in charges against sex-offenders and child abusers being dropped.

Guardians ad litem (GAL) are volunteers whose job is to explain to a child victim or witness, in simple language, the legal proceedings, and to advise a judge of the minor’s ability to understand and cooperate and assist the child and family in coping with the emotional effects of the crime. The program wants to be discharged from all criminal cases in which there is no companion case in dependency court involving the state Department of Children and Families, which works on behalf of children removed from their homes in cases of abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

The ad Litem program had cited state funding cuts.

According to the state program’s annual report, its 2007-2008 budget was cut 4 percent, while its 2008-09 budget was slashed an additional 3.2 percent — resulting in a more than $2.5 million decrease that forced it to cut staff, institute a hiring freeze and reduce the number of children represented. The report says its ability to represent the roughly 30,344 children is further hindered because 4 percent of the existing year’s appropriation is being withheld. As a result, more than 5,100 children statewide have no advocate in dependency cases.

Full Article and Source:
Judge denies motion to remove child advocates

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If the GAL's are volunteer, then why even think of removing them?

What's the real reason they want to remove them? Hmmmmm