Written by yvonne.marrone

Guardian ad Litem office to be closed for 30 days beginning Monday, March 16, 2020

Due to concerns regarding, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the Guardian ad Litem Program Office in Hillsborough County will be closed beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020.   The following precautions have been put in place for staff and volunteers:

1.) In-person visits with children are discouraged – The GAL Program is encouraging all volunteers to visit children by phone, video chat, or other means if at all possible during this 30-day period. If circumstances necessitate a face-to-face visit, please request permission from your CAM, who will need permission from senior management, before making the visit.
2.) All staff will be working from home – The office will be closed to the public for the next 30 days. If you need to speak with your CAM or attorney, please use email or phone contact to communicate.
3.) Court hearings will be covered as needed – Attorneys and CAMs will be covering court. Volunteers are discouraged from attending court unless your presence is absolutely mandatory (e.g. trials).
4.) All in-services, support groups, brown bag lunches, and other face-to-face gatherings are cancelled – We will re-commence these events in mid-April, once the threat of rapid spread of infection has dissipated.
5.) All statewide GAL events are cancelled – If you registered for the GAL symposium, it will be rescheduled. You will get notice of your hotel reservation cancellation.

If you have any questions about how to best continue to advocate for the child(ren) under your care during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to your CAM, to me, or to our circuit director, Tabitha Lambert, at Tabitha.lambert@gal.fl.gov. Thanks for your cooperation in helping us do our part to keep our community safer!