State Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) has received the 2018 Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Legislator of the Year Award. GAL Executive Director Alan Abramowitz presented the award to Senator Bean “for his unwavering commitment to GAL and to abused, abandoned and neglected children.”
Over the last two years, Senator Bean has sponsored a series of bills aimed at helping GAL serve Florida’s most vulnerable children, including:
- The Pro Bono Matters Act of 2018, which encourages attorneys to represent special-needs children by the state paying due process costs related to their cases.
- The Incarcerated Parents Act, which reduces the time children spend in foster care by helping their parents get the services needed to reunify with them.
- The Keys to Independence Act, which in 2017 made permanent a pilot program that helps foster children obtain their driver’s licenses.
Senator Bean also helped fund “Go the Extra Mile.” This program reimburses GAL volunteers, many of whom are retired, who travel outside their home counties to continue serving children they represent in dependency court.
“Senator Bean championed our proposals for not one, but two legislative sessions,” said Abramowitz. “He was the clear choice for this award.”
“I am truly lucky to be able to help,” said Senator Bean. “The Guardian ad Litem Program has helped countless children turn their lives around and given them well-deserved second chances.”
Vanessa Byerly, director of GAL services in Clay, Duval and Nassau counties, said Senator Bean’s influence has been felt throughout the area. “He’s helped thousands of children and volunteers through his leadership and advocacy,” said Byerly.
To learn more about the Guardian ad Litem Program or to become a volunteer, visit GuardianadLitem.org or call 1-866-341-1GAL.
Senator Bean represents Senate District 4, which includes parts of Nassau and Duval Counties. He can be contacted in Tallahassee at (850) 487-5004 or in his District Office at (904) 757-5039.