Tampa, FL – With the COVID-19 pandemic in our midst, it is a world of uncertainty but most of us have a support system. For abused and neglected children in the dependency courts, that precarious world is where they often feel alone as they wait for a safe and permanent home.
And when there more stressful situations, there tends to be more neglect, abandonment and abuse in our communities. Thus, more children are removed from their homes for their safety and appointed to the Guardian ad Litem Program. Then a volunteer child advocate will begin to be a reassuring presence and represent the children’s best interests in court. April is Child Abuse Prevention month and a perfect time to find out how you can make a difference in a foster child’s life.
A Guardian ad Litem becomes a child’s voice. With more than 3200 children in dependency cases in Hillsborough County, these children need that presence and advocacy. Studies show a foster child with a Guardian ad Litem attends gets better grades, receives more services, has fewer foster home placements, and is more likely to be adopted. They feel more secure and develop higher self-esteem because someone cares about them and their needs.
Supporting a foster family with a little help, especially now while children are being home-schooled, is another way to help foster children. Preparing a meal or snack, or dropping off some diapers, games, and activities are a couple of ways to lighten a caregiver’s load.
You can also donate to nonprofits like Voices for Children, which supports our Guardian ad Litem Program. VFC supports children in foster care with opportunities for normalcy such as summer camps or even a laptop while children are participating in distance learning.
Child Advocate Volunteers for the Guardian ad Litem Program are carefully trained and certified by our staff. They become part of a team to provide children with the resources and respect they deserve. The volunteer may be the only caring, competent adult in a child’s life, and a guide through the system to a forever home.
Learn more at www.galtampa.org or contact 813-272-5110.