Monday, November 21, 2011


Kim DelGaudio

Guardian Ad Litems advocate for abused, neglected kids

November is a month for reflection, as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and count our blessings. November also is National Adoption Month, a good time to reflect on children who may celebrate Thanksgiving in a foster home and dream of finding a forever family. A time for contemplating children’s rights to grow and thrive in a permanent home.

Marie Fraser is the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) for a child who has been in the foster care system for almost two years. The child was abused by a family member and has mental health issues. She has been in six placements, is on several medications and frequently lashes out at people around her. Her parents have surrendered their rights and the young teen is available for adoption.

Marie faithfully visits the child at least once a month, always checking with the doctors and therapists who work with her to make sure she is getting appropriate care. Many times when Marie visits, the child refuses to talk to her, but Marie continues her visits and advocating for the child’s rights.

Recently, Marie received a card written on pink-and-white construction paper that read: “I know I wasn’t such a good girl. But now I am and I’m sorry for treating you wrong … I just wanted you to know that now I understand you care a lot for me and I care for you too … Thanks for everything, and most of all, thanks for not giving up on me …You’re the best GAL I could ever ask for. ”

Marie hopes the girl finds a forever family soon. She will not give up.
A Guardian Ad Litem is a court-appointed advocate for children who have been abused, abandoned or neglected and are now involved in the court system. Children who have a GAL get through the system faster and with more success than children without a GAL. Brevard has 219 volunteers advocating for 630 children. Half of the GALs in Brevard are age 60 and older; half are employed.

Brevard GALs advocate for an average of two cases, or four children, per volunteer. Volunteers stay with the program for an average of six years. Guardians Ad Litem advocate for every child in foster care whose goal is adoption.

November is a good month for contemplating what you could do to help the 70 children in Brevard who are awaiting adoption. Consider volunteering to be a Guardian Ad Litem or adopting a child. There is a great need for people interested in adopting teenagers, children with special needs and sibling groups.

Most importantly, remember we cannot give up on ensuring the basic rights and needs of our children are met.

Editor's Note: Shared with permission from the author.
Kim DelGaudio is circuit director for the 18th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program in Brevard County Florida.

For more information in your local area, "Google" Guardian ad Litem Program, use the links below or contact your local foster care agencies.  

The Guardian ad Litem Program will offer an online session for those interested in being a child advocate but cannot attend 30 hours of lecture training. For more information or to register, call 321-690-6823 or email


  1. I know there are a lot of people in this world, especially children, who have YOU to be thankful for Kim! You do good and meaningful work and I'm proud to know you!

  2. Welcome to the lounge, Kim! We are all so proud to help you share such an important message and need. Thank you for letting us help to give you a bigger "voice"! I hope you'll share more.

    The work you do amazes me - may the blessing you bring to others come back to you tenfold! I agree with Marion - I am proud to know you! :)