Local News

Florida Guardian ad Litem earns productivity award

TALLAHASSEE - Florida’s statewide Guardian ad Litem Program has been named for the second year in a row with the prestigious Prudential Davis Productivity Award. Last year the program was presented the Eagle Award which has since been retired. The Prudential Davis Productivity Awards Program recognizes state employees and public agency leaders whose work significantly and measurably increases productivity and saves money for Florida taxpayers and businesses. The Davis Awards program, a major government improvement initiative, is co-sponsored by Florida TaxWatch, the Florida Council of 100, the state of Florida and Prudential. The Guardian ad Litem Program is being recognized for maximizing its resources by expanding the volunteer model creating more than 80 percent efficiency and ensuring children in foster care get more of that one-on-one attention by a volunteer child advocate.
Alan Abramowitz, executive director of the Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office, said his staff and volunteers got a Prudential Davis Award last year and again this year. The agency, a public-private partnership, provides volunteers who are appointed by the courts as advocates for abused and neglected children – a practice that has proven to result in better outcomes for those youngsters. “That means less time in foster care. It also means adoption quicker,” Abramowitz said. “We were able to calculate the costs savings for the state and it’s over $18 million a year for each these volunteers are spending doing this work.” The GAL Program is cost-effective; for every dollar saved through the efficiencies recognized by the Prudential Davis Awards team, more children’s voices can be heard in Florida’s dependency courts. The public-private partnerships created by the GAL Program emphasize the relationship between private citizens, businesses, professionals and nonprofits in communities to protect Florida’s most vulnerable children and help families. For more information, go online to www.guardianadlitem.org.