Certified Guardians Ad Litem of Brevard County Will Be Sworn In During Ceremony On February 4
By Space Coast Daily // January 25, 2017
Circuit Judge McKibben TO PERFORM CEREMONY
ABOVE VIDEO: Guardian Ad Litems discuss what it is to be a part of such a special program.
BREVARD COUNTY • VIERA, FLORIDA – On Saturday, Feb. 4 at 9 a.m., the certified Guardians ad Litem of Brevard County will be sworn in and thanked for their work during a ceremony being held at The Avenue Viera, located at 2261 Town Center Avenue in Viera.
Circuit Judge Kelly J. McKibben, who presides over Dependency Court in Brevard County, will perform the ceremony.
There are currently 331 certified Guardians ad Litem in Brevard who advocate for the best interests of Brevard’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children. The ceremony will be the held following the Superhero 5K, which is a fundraiser for the Guardian ad Litem program.
Judge McKibben, has served as a judge since 2006, most recently as a circuit judge since September 2013.
From 1995-2005, Judge McKibben served in several legal positions with the Department of Children and Families. Judge McKibben has received numerous Davis Productivity awards and is a past president of the University of Florida Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Judge McKibben received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Cumberland School of Law.
Judge McKibben was the recipient of the 2016 William E. Gladstone Award, recognizing her for being an innovative pioneer in service to Florida’s children and for demonstrating judicial leadership and compassion in the courtroom.
The statewide award was presented recently at the annual Child Protection Summit held in Orlando, with more than 3,200 people in attendance and 240 organizations represented.
The Juvenile Dependency Court is the division of the Circuit Court in each respective county that has the responsibility for hearing cases involving children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned.
ABOVE MAP: Site of the event, The Avenue Viera, 2261 Town Center Avenue in Viera.
Constant changes in our child protection laws have resulted in an increased review of these cases by judges. Dependency Court was established to improve the manner in which these children alleged to be abused, neglected or abandoned move through the court system and to address these unique challenges.
The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program is a powerful and effective program that allows community members, like yourself, to advocate for the best interests of Florida’s abused, abandoned, and neglected children.
The GAL Program is made up of volunteers who dedicate their time to advocate for children in their county that need help and support the most. When a child enters the Dependency System because his or her home is no longer safe, a judge may appoint a committed volunteer to help them.
That volunteer is called a Guardian ad Litem (GAL). The GAL Program of Brevard County trains and supports volunteers to represent and advocate for a child’s best interest while under the protective supervision of the State of Florida. GAL volunteers serve as the “eyes and ears” for the judge in child welfare cases.
Our volunteers are often the most stable presence in these children’s lives as they navigate through the foster care system.
ABOVE VIDEO: Members from Guardians ad Litem sit with Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey to discuss the program.
Currently, Brevard County has over 1,000 children appointed to the Guardian ad Litem Program. Our volunteers help ensure these children are put in safe placements and that their needs are being met.
Each GAL volunteer visits their children at least once a month in their foster home or placement, reviews records pertaining to the case, and speaks to people who will provide information that helps the GAL make a recommendation to the court about what would be in the child’s best interest.
The GAL also writes reports to the court and appears at court hearings to further advocate for the child.
Are you looking for a New Year’s Resolution? Consider becoming a certified volunteer Guardian ad Litem for a child in need.
The GAL is part of a team, and is supported in all court proceedings by a GAL attorney. GAL’s dedicate approximately 10 hours per month towards helping a child who has no other constant in their life to advocate for their best interest.
CLICK HERE for more information on The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) or contact a Volunteer Recruiter, Altara Warren or Nickola Elliott, at 321-690-6823.
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