I did it for a little over a year. Had two cases total. They were both ‘easy’ cases.
The first little girl below was placed in a foster care home and on the path to adoption. She was legally adopted by the foster mother and the case was closed.
If you’re not familiar with the Gaurdian ad Litem program, it’s where people volunteer to represent the child’s best interests in the legal process after they’ve entered Florida’s safety net system of care for neglected or abused children. The children can’t speak for themselves in court.
So it was my job to get to know the child. At school, at their caretakers home. Scheduled and unannounced visits. To make sure that the child was indeed in the best possible place for them.
I quit the program for two reasons:
- The time but more importantly the mental commitment to this is huge.
- I didn’t feel like I had what it took to really bypass my “people pleasing” and social anxiety to really go to bat if I had to for these kids. Luckily I had easy cases and didn’t have to.
There was one incident that stays with me, where the child told me something privately, one on one about his father that really concerned me. I reported it and followed up with the child’s therapist many times. Ultimately, you sometimes have to realize that the situations are never going to be perfect. People are human. And that the options for these kids are very limited.
I think I did a good job with the two kids I served. But it was hard. It took me way out of my comfort zone. And ultimately I learned I’m not ready for it. Yet.