Thursday, July 26, 2007

Who's looking out for abused,
neglected or abandoned kids?

Orange County is unique in how it serves kids in court. That's not necessarily a good thing.

Orange County is the only one in Florida that provides legal representation to abused, neglected or abandoned kids exclusively with attorneys. In other counties, children are represented by trained volunteers who don’t necessarily have to be lawyers. That system was adopted everywhere else in the state after a pilot program determined in 2003 that it was the most effective means of representing kids. Volunteers – often retired social workers – are there because they want to be there. They have the time to devote to the cases. Many become not only a protector for their kids, but also a trusted friend.

Of course, some of the lawyers in Orange County volunteer because they want to help kids. But others do it because they are required to fulfill a pro bono requirement -- and that raises questions of motive.

Before 1999, Orange County handily outperformed the rest of the state in terms of representation rates. But now the situation is flipped. While counties on the volunteer system have reported soaring success rates, some doubling the number of kids that get legal representation, Orange County struggles with low rates, long wait times for assigning an ad litem and lack of attorney availability.

Read the Orlando Weekly article here.


At 3:13 PM, Blogger Vox Populi said...

The only thing I want to say is that I have met some GAL's. Guardian ad Litems. One wants to believe that because they are voluntary that they have the best interests of the children in mind. That's simply not always the case. Like every thing. Over half I have met have no children. And, I'm NOT saying you have to have children to love them but you should have them to help understand about familial relationships and parenting, first hand. Some of these folks are extremely unrealistic and the only cure I could think of was for them to actually have a child around 24/7 for a long time to see what can go right and wrong and how easy it is for things to happen.

So, having met and observed GALs I reserve judgment for each individual and I've always been curious if they adopt children out of the courts who are never reunited with family or if they are hookups for others to find out which kids 'come on the market'. The whole thing with advertising kids without homes is horrifying to me. Mainly due to what I have witnessed. I love children. I want the best for them. One assumes that everyone does but sadly that is NOT the case, at all.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Vox Populi said...

I am also extremely concerned about those who are supposed to be friends of the elderly. I can't think of the term just now but people say there is a lot of dishonesty and taking advantage of these people by those they trust to take care of them. They are court appointed and there is a LOT remiss in that. Sorry for subject change !


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