The second session of the community outreach event, Your Courts Up Close, was held on February 25, 2020. Your Courts Up Close is a free event hosted by Judge Daryl Isenhower of St. Lucie County. This session included the topics of family, dependency court, child resources and the Guardian Ad Litem Program.
Judge Steven Levin and Judge Laurie Buchanan discussed dependency court. Dependency Court cases involve the protection of children that have been abused, neglected, or abandoned. The law provides for standards of protections that are in the best interest of the child. Participants asked questions about family law matters and the procedures involved in investigations of abuse and neglect.
Roberta Katz, Esq, Senior Best Interest Attorney for the Guardian Ad Litem Program presented an informative and heartfelt program about various Guardian Ad Litem volunteer opportunities within the Nineteenth Circuit. The Guardian Ad Litem Program is an organization powered by highly- respected volunteer child advocates who are trained and supported by professional staff to transform children’s lives. Guardians are advocate volunteers who are the voice in court proceedings for abused, abandoned or neglected children. The child’s best interest is their only interest and their ultimate goal of ensuring each child has a safe, permanent home. Children who have a Guardian ad Litem volunteer do better in school; find a safe permanent home more quickly; are less likely to return to foster care; and receive more services to help them in what is certainly the most difficult time in their lives. Interested volunteers may contact the Guardian office directly at (772) 785-5804.
Later in the evening, Judge Jeffrey Hendriks provided an update regarding new laws and changes relevant in Florida. Judge Hendriks discussed felon voting rights, texting and driving and many other relevant new laws. The crowd was engaged and learned so much new information.