Children’s Emergency Needs and/or Normalcy Request Program
The state provides for the daily needs of children in the dependency system. However, children in the child welfare system deserve to be treated like any other child and should also be able to participate in normal, age-appropriate activities. A report released by the Florida Guardian ad Litem Program, "A Voice Heard," noted insufficient funds to support participation in outside activities was a significant barrier to implementing the "Let Kids be Kids" Law. Your CAM will coordinate with office staff to complete the request form with required information and email AmyF@galf6.org to notify a request has been submitted. You can find a copy of the questions below so you know what information has to be gathered prior to submittal. GALs and/or CAMs should try to verify costs through web research or other means before submitting.
Emergency need requests will be reviewed within 48 business hours. Normalcy requests will be reviewed within 5 business days and checks are cut twice monthly on the 1st and 15th. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay Children’s Needs Committee will review all requests for appropriateness, need, and available budget. Your Child Advocacy Manager from the Guardian ad Litem Program serves as the final approval an all requests-and should be the one who submits the form. All fulfilled requests will require submission of receipts and a short reporting form to be completed within 60 days of funding.
Guidelines: All requests should support a child’s emergency needs or provide for a normalcy experience. These funds are not for family needs such as car repairs, utilities, medical/psychological testing of parents, bus passes for family, childcare, or other items. The Foundation’s mission limits our support to children in the Guardian ad Litem program in Pinellas or Pasco Counties. Please do not submit the request for children living in the home that are not in the Guardian ad Litem program.
- Normalcy and Guardian Bonding: Funds may be requested for bonding activities with your child. Activities like MOSI, lunch at a restaurant, movies, zoo, etc. are covered. Please consider submitting normalcy requests that are non-recurring. For example, football for a semester at school, spring break camp, soccer program for 8 weeks. We cannot ensure that funding will be available for monthly fees that are recurring for activities like dance, etc.
- Emergency Clothing: Clothes to Kids provides some support for clothing for children. Stores are located in Clearwater and St. Petersburg and appointments and referrals are required. Eligibility guidelines can be found here. The Public Defender’s Office also maintains clothes closets in both Clearwater and New Port Richey. Eckerd also maintains a clothes closet as well. No child should be without their basic needs. All Guardian ad Litem Program Offices also have access to gift cards for emergency clothing needs. If your needs can't be met by obtaining a gift card, please submit the online request form.
- Beds: Foster families are required to have beds for all children in their care. We will support requests for non-relative caregivers, relative caregivers, and children aging out of the system. Our preferred bedding provider is Walmart due to low costs and the ability to ship directly to the family or pick up at closest store.
- Driver’s Ed, Licenses, Insurance: House Bill 977 created a three-year pilot program at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to pay the cost of driver education, licensure, and motor vehicle insurance for young adults in foster care so they can have the same opportunity as children who are not in foster care. The Keys to Independence website includes an application form and all other details. Please contact your Case Manager or Child Advocacy Manager for assistance with these requests.
- Bus Passes: These will be considered on a case by case basis for teens who have educational needs or need a means to get to and from work. PSTA has a transportation disadvantaged program that all foster youth should qualify for that provides for bus passes as little as $11/month. Bus Passes cannot be provided for parents/caregivers.
- Tutoring: Educational needs are a priority for our children and our funders. Tutoring requests will be funded in -8 week increments and qualify for recurring funds with an update from the tutor. GAL is responsible for finding tutor and making arrangements with the family.
- Recurring Costs: Typically, the Foundation does not support recurring costs. If your request includes a recurring cost, please contact us before submitting the form.
- Phones: Although we understand phones are a normalcy need for our teens, we do not provide funds for phones or phone cards at this time. Many of our youth use old phones or ipod touches that are Wi-Fi capable and apps such as messenger and others can at least be utilized when they are in a location with Wi-Fi access. If there is a need that you believe should be considered, please contact us before submitting the form for prior approval.
- Birthdays/Holidays: All Guardian ad Litem offices have a stock of “Birthday Bags” and gift cards provided by Angels Against Abuse. Requests may still be submitted for birthday cakes or other items for celebratory or bonding purposes. We have a donor who may be able to fulfill individual wishes for children for birthdays. If you have a child with a special wish-please email the information to AmyF@galf6.org and we will see if we are able to fulfill it. The Guardian ad Litem Foundation of Tampa Bay hosts a holiday gift drive yearly fulfilling children’s wish lists.
THE REQUEST FORM BELOW IS INCLUDED TO PROVIDE YOU WITH INFORMATION NEEDED TO COMPLETE THE FORM. PLEASE WORK WITH YOUR CHILD ADVOCACY MANAGER FOR FORM SUBMISSION. ENTRIES MADE WITHOUT NOTICE FROM CHILD ADVOCACY MANAGER ARE NOT REVIEWED.iew Online Request Form