TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 16, 2017) The Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation announced Hillsborough County as the winner of the inaugural Florida County of the Year Award in Category three, which includes counties with populations greater than one million people.
The award was presented to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners by Tabitha Lambert, director of the Hillsborough County Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program and was created to recognize the commitment to help children in foster care.
“In working with other circuits prior to my position in Hillsborough County, I had the opportunity of getting to know the support that other counties provide, which does not compare to the support that Guardian ad Litem Program receives from Hillsborough County,” says Lambert.
Hillsborough County currently leads all other Florida counties with an estimated 3,600 abused, abandoned and neglected children in the court system. About half of these children have no representation in the court system.
The GAL program trains volunteers to speak up for the best interests of children who have been removed from their homes and have been placed with relatives or foster parents.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, who is also a GAL volunteer, was instrumental in establishing a Blue Ribbon Panel Committee which brought together local leadership in the child welfare community. The group utilizes various data analytics to help children and families in our county.
Thanks to Hillsborough County’s efforts, the GAL staff was able to add additional employees to help certify more than 200 volunteers in 2017 and to help represent more children going through the dependency court system.
For more information about the Guardian ad Litem program of Hillsborough County, call (813) 272-5110 or visit www.galtampa.org.
About Guardian ad Litem (GAL)
The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is a partnership of community advocates and professional staff providing a powerful voice on behalf of Florida’s abused, abandoned and neglected children.