Every year, hundreds of children in Broward County are removed from their home due to abuse or neglect. They are taken away from their parents or caregivers for their own protection and placed in the custody of the State. They enter the world of foster care and the dependency system, often with only a bagful of possessions and a need to feel safe in a stable and nurturing placement.
Some children’s lives are improved by this intervention. They may find loving foster homes, be placed with relatives, or eventually be reunited with their parents.
Unfortunately, many other children never find permanency. They may travel through a series of foster homes and finally age out of the system on their 18th birthday, usually with no outside support, ill prepared for life as an adult.
The difference in outcomes for these children most often is due to the people who care for the children during these crucial developmental years. The State funds an entire range of professionals such as judges, social workers, foster parents, case managers, attorneys, and medical providers, in an attempt to provide for the safety of these children. The individuals in each of these positions change frequently.
Children benefit greatly from the advocacy of a Guardian ad Litem—a trained volunteer from the community, a person who simply wants to make sure the best interests of the children are served. The Guardian ad Litem program recruits, trains and supervises volunteers who work one on one with these children, sometimes for years, to advise the judge on the child’s progress through the system, make recommendations for placements and permanency, and advocate for the child’s best interests. The Guardian ad Litem gives a voice to these children.
For each child, the selfless work of the Guardian ad Litem provides hope, encouragement, and a caring relationship. The Guardian ad Litem is often the only voice, and the only person, consistently advocating for the child throughout the child’s time in the dependency system.
Although the Guardians ad Litem play a crucial role in the life of these children, current funding levels only allow for some children to have a Guardian ad Litem.
Voices for Children of Broward County
Voices for Children of Broward County was organized to support the great efforts and important mission of the Guardian ad Litem program. Although the State and County provide funding for the Guardian ad Litem program, it is not enough money to recruit, train and professionally supervise a Guardian ad Litem for every child who enters the system. Today there are hundreds of “forgotten” children who have no Guardian ad Litem to be their Voice.
With its fundraising and educating efforts, Voices aims to raise money to help the Guardian ad Litem program recruit, train and supervise more volunteer Guardians ad Litem and to raise awareness of the need for advocacy and other support for the children in foster care.
VOICES FOR CHILDREN OF BROWARD COUNTY
10097 Cleary Boulevard, #70,
Plantation, FL 33324