Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, has been named State Director of the Year by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian Ad Litem (CASA/GAL) Association for Children. Abramowitz received the award at the organization’s virtual Awards of Excellence program on October 21, 2020.
The Guardian ad Litem Program represents abused and neglected children in court proceedings, using a multi-disciplinary team approach that includes an attorney, a social worker, and a trained volunteer. Abramowitz has led the Program for more than 8 years, during which he has brought more than 10,000 Floridians to advocate for children and created public-private partnerships statewide for the benefit of children. The National CASA/GAL Association, together with state member programs like Florida’s, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can have a safe, permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.
The organization’s State Director of the Year Award honors a state director who has taken action to establish or develop the state network and has shown commitment to applying the National CASA/GAL mission, vision and strategic framework at a state level.
“Alan and his team have worked diligently with the Florida Legislature year after year, advancing initiatives to improve the experiences of children and youth in care,” said Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation President Lori Duarte-Roberts, past chair of the National CASA Board of Directors. “Through their efforts, statewide policy changes have been made to help remove barriers to youth in care obtaining a driver’s license, champion measures for normalcy for children in care, and incorporate principles of trauma-informed care into the Program’s representation and culture.”
Florida State Senator Aaron Bean has worked with Abramowitz for years on many of his legislative efforts. “This award reflects the tremendous impact he’s had on public policy,” Senator Bean said.
Abramowitz is not only the Executive Director, but represents children as a guardian ad litem himself. “The children inspire me, and they inspire all the staff and volunteers,” he said. “I have personally seen how one caring person can make a difference in a child’s life, and I want every child to have a guardian ad litem in his or her corner.”
Abramowitz expressed his gratitude to all those who work for the Program, the non-profit organizations that support the mission, and the tens of thousands of volunteers who have represented so many children over the years. He also thanked the Legislature, “for giving us the tools so that volunteers and staff can advocate appropriately for children in foster care,” and Governor Ron DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis for their work on behalf of vulnerable children, citing the “Hope for Healing” initiative.
In celebration of this recognition, a $20,000 grant award will be provided to the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation for program-wide professional development for the benefit of all staff and volunteers of the Guardian ad Litem Program.