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HomeAt Home & BeyondBe a child's hero for Father's Day

Be a child’s hero for Father’s Day

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Sunday, June 18, 2023, is Father’s Day. For most of us, it is a day to reflect on the sacrifices and gifts and how a father’s presence in our lives influenced and helped shape who we are today. A time to acknowledge that if not for them, we would not have survived our childhoods or teen years as well as we did or acquired the skills and self-confidence necessary to achieve success and overcome the rough times in adulthood.

Regrettably, many children in our local area will not experience similar recollections on Father’s Day. For these children, living with their father fell short of the collective expectations. Prolonged incarcerations, addiction to drugs or alcohol, or absence from their lives have left these children with memories they would just as soon forget. It has left them with heart-wrenching questions, doubts, and deep-seated scars that, despite well-intended reassurances, never seem to abate.

More than 2,100 abused and neglected children are currently involved with our local judicial and child welfare systems. Most of these children are ten or younger, and almost all of them live with willing strangers or relatives. The level of uncertainty and unpredictability confronting these children would bring most of us to our knees.

The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office represents Florida’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children in court and the community. Through the collaboration of a national best practice multi-disciplinary team that includes a Guardian ad Litem Attorney, child welfare professional, and hopefully a trained volunteer or pro bono attorney from the child’s community. The team provides legal representation for children’s legal interests while assisting the child in expressing their needs and wishes. Our unique approach allows us to support the whole child, addressing their physical, educational, mental, emotional, social, and legal needs. In 2022, the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office represented over 36,000 children in Florida.

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The team member missing for many of the children in our community is the volunteer. That is where you can help, take action, and make a difference in a child’s life by stepping up for a child in need. Learn more by visiting www.guardianadlitem.org or calling 352-812-6971.

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