FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2015
The Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program to hold the 2015 Disabilities Training Conference: Imagining the Future in Orlando
Orlando, Florida - The Florida Guardian ad Litem Program is hosting the 2015 Guardian ad Litem Disabilities Training Conference: Imagining the Future, in Orlando Florida. The conference brings together child welfare professionals from across the state to improve the lives of abused and neglected children with disabilities.
There will be more than 400 child welfare professionals from government agencies all across Florida will come together in Orlando to focus on improving their advocacy skills for those children who are not only abused and neglected but also have special needs. The conference brings together attorneys from the GAL Program, the Florida Department of Children and Families, Sunshine Health, Children’s Medical Services/ Florida Department of Health, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, States Attorney’s, private attorneys as well as dependency judges. Participants of the conference can choose from 30 workshops. Topics range from educational advocacy, human trafficking, psychotropic medications, trial advocacy, to social security and Medicaid benefits. This year the keynote speakers will be Jonathan Martinis and David Lillesand. Mr. Martinis will discuss Justice for Jenny, a case in which Mr. Martinis represented Jenny Hatch – the first case to hold that a person with disabilities has a right to engage in Supported-Decision Making. Mr. Lillesand will help attendees learn how ensure benefits for children with special needs are awarded.
When discussing the conference, Alan Abramowitz, Executive Director of the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program stated, “Through this professional development conference, I am confident we will improve the lives of Florida’s abused, neglected and special needs children. This gathering of forces will inspire us all to work together to face uphill challenges and pave a positive path into the future. We are grateful to Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature - specifically Senator Bill Galvano and Representative Fresen – for giving us this wonderful opportunity to bring together dedicated legal professionals from children serving agencies and our partner-private attorneys from throughout our diverse state.”
“These children deserve the best advocacy Florida can give them” said DCF Deputy Secretary David Fairbanks. “Through the sharing of ideas, teaching of best practices across agencies, and bringing together child welfare professionals from across the state, this conference provides a roadmap for advocates to ensure children who have been abused and neglected and who have special needs, find a safe permanent home.”
To learn more about volunteering as a Guardian ad Litem visit www.GuardianadLitem.org or call 1-866-341-1GAL.